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Rev. Professor G. HENSLOW 

M.A., F.L.S., F.G.S., &c. 





In treating of wild flowers generally, the reader 
may ask — How are you going to do it ? Now, 
if we turn over the pages of any text-book on 
Structural Botany, or of any " Flora," describing 
all the plants of some country, little else than de- 
scriptions of the actual structure of plants, that 
is, of stems, leaves, flowers, etc., will be found. 

In the present work I have tried to add some- 
thing additional by putting life into those dry- 
bones of mere structure. 

We now know that all plants have arisen by 
descent with variation. That is to say, every 
plant has had a history, in that it has descended 
from a long line of ancestry. This is why we 
can arrange them like the branches of a tree, all 
having sprung from a single stem. In other 
words the great doctrine of evolution teaches us 
that a plant, besides carrying a hereditary like- 
ness, has the power within itself of varying, pro- 
vided its external conditions of life are changed. 

The living bond, therefore, which unites the 
following chapters together is the principle of 

I should like my readers to keep this 
steadily in view; for they will then see how 
classification, the origin of forms of leaves and 
flowers as well as of special plant-structures, are 




entirely based on adaptations to surrounding 
conditions of life, using that phrase as includ- 
ing everything with which plants come into 

Secondly, to interpret the distribution of 
species, this same power of "self-adaptation to 
the environment " explains not only the peculiar 
forms of plants on high mountains, in tropical 
countries, dry or moist, as of deserts, in marshes 
and in water; but also why it is that different 
and not usually identical species of the same 
kind of plant " represent " one another in similar 
climates but of widely separated regions. 

Here I must say a word about " Natural Selec- 
tion ; " for Mr Grant Allen in his " Story of the 
Plant" speaks of adaptations of flowers to 
insects as "the result of two great underlying 
principles, known as The Struggle for Life and 
Natural Selection" 

He follows Darwin in this remark ; but Darwin 
has been proved to be wrong. He assumed with- 
out any evidence, that when seeds are carried 
away from their homes and grow up in a distant 
and different kind of place, that the new external 
influences caused the seedlings to vary in all sorts 
of ways, or " indefinitely," as he called it. Then, 
in the struggle between them and others, i.e. the 
native plants, any one or more which happened 
to have varied in harmony with its new sur- 
roundings, survived, and all the rest of the seed- 
lings are supposed to have died. 

Unfortunately for his theory, no single 
instance has ever been found of such indefinite 
variation, since he wrote his book " On the Origin 



of Species by Means of Natural Selection," in 

On the other hand there is abundance of evi- 
dence that plants vary in direct adaptation to 
new conditions of life. Darwin admitted that 
this was sometimes the case, and said that if a 
plant varied " definitely " in this way, a new 
variety would arise without the aid of natural 
selection, Now we know that this is an invari- 
able law of nature. 

Where then, does Natural Selection come in 1 

Nowhere at all, as far as the Origin of Varieties 
or Species is concerned; but it plays a most 
important and universal part in the Distribution 
of Plants. Wherever plants struggle together, 
or with inhospitable, inorganic environments, the 
many die out and the few survive, and that is 
the province of Natural Selection. 

As illustrations of the evolution of forms and 
of their having become dominant species, I shall 
describe some of the plants of our Colonial Floras 
in the Southern Hemisphere ; but must postpone 
them for a second volume. 

With regard to our cultivated vegetables, the 
reader will see how in these evolution has been 
at work; and it is to this marvellous power of 
self-adaptation, to the artificial conditions of 
cultivation, that we possess our vastly ' 1 im- 
proved " plants, so utterly different as they 
often are from the original wild flowers from 
which they have descended. 

Lastly, to meet frequent inquiries about the 
sources of our commoner garden flowers, I have 
added an Appendix, in which is enumerated the 



majority of the better known flowers, giving the 
country from which they came, and the ap- 
proximate dates 1 of arrival, when known, into 
these islands. 

Hothouse and conservatory plants, as well as 
cultivated species of our own native wild flowers 
are not given. 

1 These are mostly taken from Paxton's "Botanical 




FLOWERS ...... 15 


flowers — continued .... 28 



WAYS 54 




USES * 72 














WILD FLOWERS . . . . 143 









INDEX . . 245 




Before proceeding to discuss Wild Flowers and 
their ways, it is necessary to give some account 
of the general structure of a Flowering Plant, in 
order to explain their means of multiplication 
and how new forms or " species " of plants arise, 
as a result of their spreading into countries of 
different characters, etc. For these results depend 
upon the peculiar nature of their "organs," 
using this word to mean generally all parts of a 
plant which have special functions assigned to 
th'em to perform. 

It is a matter of common observation that, 
besides the production of offspring resembling 
their parents in every way, they can, and often 
do, vary more or less greatly in certain aspects 
from them. How such variations arise has to be 
accounted for. 

As the late Mr Grant Allen has done a good 
deal for my readers in his volume u The Story of 
the Plant," I shall avoid going over the same 
ground, by referring them to his work when 


necessary for further details than I can give in 
this book, beyond a general outline, which I will 
here supply. 

Any ordinary flowering plant, say, a butter- 
cup, may be regarded as possessing two classes 
of organs, "Vegetative" and " Reproductive." 
The former embrace the Roots, Stems, and Branches 
(subterranean and aerial), and, lastly, Leaves, 
with or without Stipules. 

The reproductive organs are Flowers with or 
without Bracts, and the subsequent Fruit con- 
taining the Seed. 

The former group is concerned in maintaining 
the life, and securing the development of the 
plant ; while the latter is occupied in reproducing 
and multiplying the individual. The vegetative 
organs can, however, often act as additional 
means of propagation; as a tulip bulb will pro- 
duce bulbils, and a tuber of a potato develops 
a plant which again bears many potatoes for 
future multiplication. This subject will be 
discussed in chapter viii. 

The next point is to understand the uses or 
functions of these organs. First, then, with re- 
gard to the vegetative, there are two kinds o'f 
roots; one consisting of simple or branching 
fibres, which absorb water and whatever salts, 
etc., may be dissolved in it; the others are 
thickened or fleshy, their function being to store 
up organised products as reserve food-materials 
for future use, such as starch, sugar, oil, and 
other matters. These two kinds of roots are 
well seen together on a plant of the Lesser 
Celandine (Fig. 3). 



The stem and branches convey the water to 
the leaves, which "transpire" or " exhale" the 
superabundance; so that the salts necessary for 
the plant can be sufficiently concentrated. 

The leaves absorb carbon-dioxide (carbonic 
acid), composed of carbon and oxygen, from the 
air; and, under the action of light, decompose it, 
exspiring the oxygen, and " fixing " the carbon. 
This, in combination with the elements of water 
(hydrogen and oxygen), form the first visible 
organic product or starch, the first important re- 
sult of the process of "assimilation"; so that the 
two great functions of leaves are transpiration and 
assimilation. For further details of these functions 
I will refer the reader to chapter iv., " How 
Plants Eat," and chapter v., "How Plants 
Drink," in Mr G. Allen's book. 

Of the reproductive organs, Bracts are the 
first to be noticed. These are rudimentary scale- 
like leaves, generally green, but not infrequently 
taking the colour of the flower ; when they may 
be white or brilliantly coloured. They are 
usually single, i.e. one below each flower, which 
arises from its axil. In the blue-bell there are 
two, and if the flowers are crowded together, as 
are the "florets" of a daisy or dandelion, then 
they form a dense mass underneath the " head " 
of ''florets " and are called an involucre. 

A typical flower consists of four series or 
"whorls" of parts, the outermost, or Calyx, is 
generally green, as in a rose, sometimes coloured 
as in the marsh marigold (which has no corolla). 
The individual parts are called Sepals. The 
Corolla is usually white, or coloured other than 



green, and is composed of Petals. The third 
whorl consists of Stamens) each stamen having 
a stalk or Filament with a two-celled Anther at 
the summit. Each anther-cell contains the fer- 
tilising powder called Pollen. The last and 
central organ is the Pistil. This is composed of 
one or more Carpels. Each carpel consists of a 
bag-like structure below, called the Ovary, which 
contains one or more Ovules. Above the ovary 
rises the Style, terminating with one or more 
'Stigmas at the summit. 

These four sets of organs, Calyx, Corolla, 
Stamens and Pistil, constitute the four Floral 

The uses of these parts are briefly as follows : — 
The calyx protects the interior parts when imma- 
ture. The corolla attracts insects by being white 
or coloured or scented. The stamens shed the 
pollen, which must fall on to the stigmas of the 
pistil either of the same flower or of some other 
like it in order that seed may be borne by the 
latter. The minute grains of pollen then send 
down " pollen- tubes" through the style into the 
ovary. They ultimately reach the ovules, one 
entering a minute pore in each ovule called the 
" micropyle." The fertilising matter, called a 
"nucleus," passing out of the pollen-tube, unites 
with a " germ-cell" or nucleus already prepared 
within the "embryo-sac" within the ovule. These 
two nuclei, i.e. the "germ-cell" and "sperm- 
cell," now united, grow into an "embryo," or 
young plant of the future, as is seen in the 
almond, bean, or pea, when the skins are removed. 

For further details of the process of " fertilisa- 



tion " and of the " crossing " of flowers, I will 
again refer the reader to Mr Allen's book; for 
he enters into particulars about "How Plants 
Marry" in chapter vi., and on " Various Mar- 
riage Customs" in chapters vii. and viii. 

I shall have several occasions to refer to 
" Marriage Customs " among plants in the course 
of our travels over the world in search of wild 
flowers ; so I shall assume my readers to quite 
understand what I shall have to say on this 

Now what does the term " Wild Flowers " em- 
brace? Not only all flowering plants that are 
wild, but such as have been introduced into cul- 
tivation and remained unchanged. 

In these days " forced marriages " between 
different " species," or what is called "hybrid- 
isation," has probably given rise to by far the 
greater number of our garden plants, both in the 
open border and in greenhouses and conserva- 
tories ; so that the truly " wild " originals of 
our garden rhododendrons, roses, fuchsias, pelar- 
goniums, begonias, pansies, narcissus, etc., etc., 
are quite unknown to the general public. On the 
other hand, the purple foxglove, snapdragon, 
blue and white irises, Alpine plants, etc., are just 
as they are found in their native homes. 

Now, every country has, and if it be a con- 
tinent, various parts of it have their own peculiar 
wild flowers : and if we travelled to all our colon- 
ies and if I were to try to enumerate all the wild 
flowers of each, I should require many volumes ; 
so that I shall be compelled to limit myself to a 
selection, especially such as are better known, or 


which are characterised by having some special 
points of interest. 

Another feature of importance is that in com- 
paring the wild flowers of one country with those 
of another, one notices that certain "families" 
and groups called " genera " (which will be ex- 
plained hereafter) often prevail. Thus the "scrub" 
of Australian forests is largely composed of vari- 
ous " species " of Acacia. Visitors to the Riviera 
will be familiar with them, for they grow so well 
there. The flowering branches are often sent 
over to London under the name of " Mimosa." 

Another feature is that when the "floras" of 
two widely separated countries of like conditions, 
say, hot, rocky and dry, are compared, at first 
sight many plants of the one would be thought 
to be the same as those of the other ; but a closer 
inspection of the flowers reveals the fact that 
while their general vegetative systems are closely 
alike, their flowers betray totally different fami- 
lies, genera or species as the case may be. Hence 
botanists call them " representative " plants. I 
shall have occasion to give several instances of 
this remarkable fact, among foreign wild flowers. 

The explanation is simple enough. It is that 
like external conditions have induced the plants 
to assume like forms, which are best adapted to 
live under the conditions in question. 

Such are the lines on which I propose to treat 
of wild flowers ; and to add chapters dealing with 
special peculiarities of certain plants such as have 
acquired the habits of climbing, of parasitism, of 
catching insect-prey, of going to sleep, etc. 

In this way we shall be able to take a pretty 


general survey of wild flowers and their ways and 
$o compile their story. 

As it will be quite impossible to deal with so 
vast a subject as the wild flowers of the world in 
one book, it is proposed to continue the subject 
in a second, if the present one meets with appro- 
val. As this will treat mainly with plants of 
England and the European continent, the second 
volume will be more concerned with tropical 
regions and their peculiar plants, as well as the 
floras of our colonies in the southern hemisphere 
and elsewhere. 



In looking at any nosegay of wild flowers, the 
eye rests upon a great variety of forms and col- 
ours in the blossoms ; and it might be thought 
what a difficult thing it must be to reduce the 
mass of beauty one sees in nature to anything 
like a simple system of classification. Yet, so it 
is. All plants can be placed in two sections, con- 
taining those which bear flowers and those which 
do not. The former are called Phanerogams ; 
a word signifying " visible marriages or unions," 
as the stamens and pistil are conspicuous. The 
latter are called Cryptogams ; and as the unions 
are produced by organs, representing stamens 

1 " Wild Flowers " must be allowed to include all plants 
growing wild, whether they bear flowers or not. 


and pistils, which are microscopic in size, thi 
word is invented to signify " concealed unions.' 

At present we are only concerned with plant 
which have flowers. These are grouped into tw< 
classes, called Dicotyledons and Monocoty 
ledons, according as the 6 ' embryos " of the seed; 
have two or one cotyledon or seed-leaf, respectively. 
There are almost always a few exceptions t( 
every group, and so some of thi 
former have only one, whih 
some of the latter have at leas' 
a rudimentary second cotyledon 
We shall understand the signi 
ficance of this hereafter. 

The first class has two Sub 
Classes. The first is callec 
Angiosperms, as the "seeds' 
are in " vessels," as the wore 
implies. In other words, thej 
are contained within a fruit o: 
some kind, as peas are in a pod; 
The second sub-class is calleq 
Gymnosperms, for the " seeds ! 
are "naked." 

This is a comparatively small 

Fio. l.-<«Carpellary» f™"?' at , ^ I ° m ^ Yed , ™ 1 

scale of cycas, with ^ne two classes, but remarkable 

n^edTe r et Dal (From f 0V havin g n0 " f ™V Only seeds 

the Gardener's chro- exposed to the air and borne on 
mcle ' ) the edges of altered leaves (Figj 

1), or by the stems. We have but three in Great 

1 The structure of seeds will be explained later on. 
The two cotyledons are the ' ' halves" of an almond or 
of i{ split" peas. 


Britain — the Scotch Fir, the common Juniper, and 
the Yew. They, however, represent a very ancient 
" flora " ; for such plants once formed a large pro- 
portion of the vegetation, which now constitutes 
our coal. 

The next classificatory terms are the Families 
or Orders. These consist of Genera, and these 
last, of Species, with or without Varieties. 

How shall we attack this subject ? The best 
way is by seeing how Nature herself has brought 
about such " Diversity from Unity " ; for the 
above classification has 
been made by compar- 
ing plants, and notic- 
ing their points of 
similarity, as well as of 
difference. Thus, if, 
e.g., we collect some 
buttercups, one would 
soon see that while 
the flowers strike one 
as being all alike, yet 
one kind would have 
runners like a straw- 
berry plant; another Fig. 2.— Bulbous Buttercup (Ranun- 
1 ' J n i v • 1 culu$ bulbosus), showing corm, 

has a globular, SOlld pe(al witn honey-gland at the 
Stem, Called a u COrm " ; tase > a stamen, and an achene. 

a third in corn-fields is an annual, not a per- 
ennial, as the former, and has prickly, and not 
smooth fruit ; a fourth kind lives in water, 
and has white, instead of yellow flowers. 
Linnaeus, who gave latin names to them, called 
the first Ranunculus repens ; the second, E. bul- 
bosus (Fig. 2); the third, R arvensis ; and the 



fourth, R. aquatilis. Why are they all called 
Ranunculus! Because the structure of the flower 
and fruit is essentially the same in all, viz,, con- 
sisting of five free sepals, five free petals, many 
free stamens, and many free carpels, each of 
which when ripe, becomes a " seed-like" little 
fruit, called an " achene." No child would hesi- 
tate to gather the first three kinds, at least, as 
buttercups ; so Linnaeus called them all, and a 
great many more, by the "generic" name 
Ranunculus. That is to say, this is the " genus," 
but each kind has its "specific" name, which 
indicates the "species." 

I have only alluded to one specific character, 
taken from the stems, but the reader must clearly 
understand that a species should always be known, 
not by one only, but by a collection of constant 
characters, taken from any or all parts .of the 
plant. They may be supplied from the roots, 
stems, leaves, flower-stalks, parts of the flowers 
or fruits ; these may all form " specific " char- 
acters; but they must be constant, year after 
year, and therefore to be depended upon. 

It often happens that some one or two char- 
acters belong to two or more species. That is 
why one, two, or even a few characters are often 
insufficient to define a particular species ; but as 
many as possible taken collectively are what one can 
trust as indicating a species. Thus the sepals 
are reflexed, both in R. bulbosus (Fig. 2) and R. 
hirsutus, but spreading in R. repens and R. acris. 

It is very desirable for the reader to clearly 
understand what is meant by a " species," as this 
lies at the whole basis of classification. 


A certain difficulty comes in here, because 
there is no hard and sharp line by which we 
can always sever one species from another. 
Often it is possible; but the differences may, 
in the eye of one botanist, be sufficient to 
separate two plants, to which he would give 
two distinct specific names ; but to another 
botanist the resemblances seem to overbalance 
their differences, and he would call one a 
"variety" of the other. 

The greater the knowledge of plants the more 
often does this happen, and " transitional" forms 
are found connecting, sometimes by almost in- 
sensible gradations, what would otherwise be 
regarded as well-differentiated species. But not 
only may species, but genera, that is groups 
of "allied" species, are often linked to other 
groups, called by a different generic name. 

Thus the late Mr G. Bentham, one of our 
greatest of systematic botanists, says, that of 
ninety genera of the " Tribe 7; or larger group, 
Asteroidece, of the great family of Compositce, he 
could find no decided break between any of 
them. That means, that nearly 1000 species 
were linked together. 

It is this almost universal feature in both 
kingdoms, animal as well as vegetable, that 
seemed to militate against the old idea of 
every species being a distinct entity created 
just as we see it now. How, then, has this, so 
to say, intimate connection between species come 
about ? It is a true alliance by relationship. 

Although a species is known by its group of 
characters, yet, as far as we know, no plant has 


them so absolutely fixed that they can never 
change. It was thought so once, but now we 
find that although, when plants have grown 
for long periods within any particular surround- 
ings, great fixity becomes a characteristic feature ; 
yet if the seeds be sown in a garden border, or be 
transferred to a widely different locality, as by 
birds, wind, etc., then the plants, as they grow 
up, begin to change their features more or less, 
so as to be in better harmony with their new 
environment. Plants will often stand a consider- 
able amount of external changes without much, 
if any, appreciable alteration. Some are very 
refractory under cultivation, and seem to resist 
it; while others change very rapidly. Thus 
bulbs of tulips, etc., imported from Asia Minor 
and elsewhere, sometimes bear flowers and foli- 
age very unlike that of their original parents 
after three or four years' cultivation only. So, 
too, the seed of the wild parsnip, common in 
many places of England, when sown in a richly- 
prepared soil, may become a good kitchen vege- 
table in about four or five years. The root and 
leaves become enormously enlarged. The latter 
loses its dense hairiness and becomes smooth and 
what is of prime importance, these " acquired ? 
characters, as they have been called, become 
hereditary, and the enlarged form of root is 
perpetuated by seed. It was thus that the 
" Student " parsnip was raised as an experi- 
ment by Prof. James Buckman at the gardens 
of the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, 
between 1847 and 1852. It was "brought 
out" by Messrs Sutton and Sons, and is still 


the best in the trade at the nresent day 

Similarly is it in nature. Though we cannot 
see nature's experiments as a rule, as we can our 
own, yet we find that if a particular plant is 
abundant in a certain locality, the further we 
travel from that centre, the more do we find 
it passing into other varietal forms; at first 
differing but slightly, till we find quite different 
species in districts widely separated. The reason 
is simply that the further they travel from the 
original home, the greater are the differences in 
the environment or surroundings, which act upon 
the plant and induce it to vary iu the right way ; 
so as to render it suitable to its new conditions 
of life, whatever they may be. 1 

As this is so important a subject, as explaining 
the Origin of Species, I will take the following 
illustration from Sir J. D. Hooker's Student's 
Flora of the British Isles, to show how various 
" forms," whether we choose to call them 
"varieties," "subspecies," or "species," arise. 
The common knotgrass is a familiar wild flower 
by roadsides. He thus describes them : — First 
there is the knotgrass "proper" or the type- 
form ; secondly, a littoral form, being the 
passage to a true, maritime one ; thirdly, a field 
form ; fourthly, a sand loving form ; fifthly, a 
small fruited form ; sixthly, the wayside form ; 
seventhly, a second maritime form in sandy shores. 

1 In giving some account of the wild flowers of our 
Colonies, I shall draw attention to this fact ; pointing 
out how genera and species are " represented " but not • 
identical in different localities widely separated. 


It is pretty evident that all these forms are 
the result of living in the special soils where they 
are found. 

The reader will now understand how simple 
is the process by which new species arise, i.e. 
through varieties from old-established ones. It 
all depends upon a certain power which resides 
in the living "protoplasm" contained in the 
cells of the plant. Any explanation of the pro- 
cess is at present impossible. All we can say is 
that the protoplasm, together with its still more 
important "nucleus," can form two cells out of 
one. The cells then assume definite forms ac- 
cording to their positions in the plant. A cer- 
tain number go to form an organ, such as a root, 
a leaf, a petal, etc. ; and if the protoplasm be 
unaffected by external agencies, it will go on per- 
petually forming cells of the same kinds, in the 
same places, and so build up organs of like kinds. 
But, if it be affected by a new set of external 
agencies, then cells build up a differently shaped 
organ. Thus, if a leaf lies horizontally, the 
protoplasm constructs a broad leaf-blade, with a 
different structure on the upper from that of the 
under side. If, however, it be erect, as a blade 
of grass, or of a carnation or thrift, the form is 
totally changed. The leaf is narrow, and has 
both sides alike. How the trick is done, nature 
keeps secret to herself, for she has never told us 
what life is, how it acquired its properties, nor 
whence she obtained it. 

The individuals of a species, then, are actual 
^entities but a genus is not ; for it means all the 
species derived from some common ancestor and 


taken collectively. Thus any buttercup one 
gathers in the field is a species ; but the genus 
Ranunculus is the collective name for all kinds 
of buttercups and does not stand for any one in 
particular alone. Sometimes it does when it in- 
cludes only one species, then of course the species 
and the genus are the same thing, as, e.g., the 
British water-plant called the Horn-wort, or the 
little Australian pitcher plant, 1 a solitary species 
of a solitary genus. 

It may be added that when such a plant 
occurs, it is now recognised as the lingering 
relic of a long line of lost ancestors. Since, 
having abandoned the idea of separate creations 
and accepted evolution, we cannot look upon 
it as having come into existence without a pre- 
vious line of descent. But they have all dis- 
appeared. There are many other " survivals " 
as they are called, both in the animal as well as 
the vegetable kingdom. Sometimes it is a single 
genus with many species that stands all alone, 
without any near allies, as the true pitcher 
plants, 2 and the horse-tails. 3 Of this last we do 
know something of its lost ancestry, as numerous 
kinds are found among coal-plants. All but one 
genus having died out. We do not know when 
or where the different species of buttercup arose 
one from another ; but the accumulative evidence 
is so great, that no one now who has paid a little 
attention to it, disputes the doctrine of evolu- 
tion ; which asserts that all existing animals and 
plants have arisen by " Descent with Modification" 
from pre-existing ones. 

3 Cephalotus follicular is. 2 Nepenthes. 3 Equisetum. 


Perhaps it will not be amiss to give another 
illustration to show the line of argument adopted. 
It is called " Inductive reasoning." That is, it is 
based on an accumulation of a vast number of 
coincidences ; so that the probability of the result 
being as supposed becomes so great, that the 
alternative is unthinkable. 

Now it is in this way "certain" that the 
water-crowfoot is descended from a land butter- 
cup. Why do we believe this ? It has finely 
divided submerged leaves. It is " certain " that 
this feature has resulted from being under water; 
because, not only is it so in this plant, but it 
would be easy to mention a dozen others, of no 
relationship between them, which have precisely 
the same feature. In almost every case, as with 
the buttercup, other species living on land have 
not their leaves finely divided. This widely 
spread coincidence of submerged leaves being 
finely divided convinces us that it is a result of 
the submergence. 

Now this line of reasoning can be applied to 
hundreds of particulars among plants. 

Sometimes we can adopt an even more satis- 
factory proof that our inferences are correct ; for 
we can actually produce the anticipated result 
by experiment, though the previous line of argu- 
ing in a vast number of cases is quite sufficient. 
Thus, the fleshiness of many seaside plants is a 
general characteristic, as in the samphire. That 
it is due to the presence of salt is an inference 
based on coincidence. Now experiments have 
been made with garden plants, watering them 
with salt and water, which has induced them to 


acquire a similar fleshiness. Conversely, when 
maritime plants have been grown inland, they 
have been known to lose it, and become thin- 
leaved. All this " experimental " proof, there- 
fore, corroborates our original "inductive 

We thus see how species and varieties, which 
last are but incipient species, have arisen in 
nature, and that such are collectively grouped 
under the term genus. 

How did the group of species forming one 
genus come to differ 
from the group of 
species constituting a 
second genus of the 
same family ? 

Here we must 
concentrate all our 
attention almost en- 
tirely upon the struc- 
ture of the flowers, 
and sometimes on the 
fruits, and we have 

to travel back in Fig. 3.— Lesser Celandine (R. Ficaria), 
imam nation into thp showing tuberous and fibrous roots, 
imagination llltO tne a petal with honey-gland, the pis- 
past history of plant til of many carpeis, and a single 


As we have taken buttercups to illustrate 
the origin of species, so I will take the Lesser 
Celandine (Fig. 3) to illustrate the origin of a 
new genus ; for this is also one of degree, and 
botanists have differed as to whether it should 
be called a Ranunculus or not. 

As a rule, there is a greater difference between 


the forms of the parts of the flower of species of 
different genera than between those of different 
species of the same genus. 

Thus, if a child were told to gather buttercups, 
it would have no hesitation in collecting flowers 
from R. acris, R. bulbosus, and R. repens ; but it 
might hesitate to gather flowers of the earlier 
flowering Lesser Celandine or R. Ficaria, or as 
some have called it Ficaria ranunculoides. 

The flower has 3 instead of 5 sepals. There 
are 7 or 8 petals instead of the constant number 
5. It has, however, numerous stamens and 
carpels, which become achenes, exactly like those 
of other species of ' Ranunculus, if they ripen at 
all, which is not usually the case in the Lesser 
Celandine, in England. Moreover, it flowers 
much earlier than the true buttercups, and the 
whole plant is smooth, and the leaves round and 
not divided ; so that its general appearance does 
not seem to associate it very closely with the 
true buttercups. 

How came these differences, and what is its 
history ? The leaf resembles in shape that of 
the Marsh Marigold, or that of the water-lily in 
miniature, or even that of a monocotyledonous 
plant called the Frog-bit, all the preceding being 

If we cut the stem or leaf-stalk we find " air- 
canals," characteristic of all water-plants. Again, 
if we examine its leaves microscopically, we 
should detect a predominance of " stomates " on 
the upper surface as occurs in floating leaves, 
which, however, have none on the under side, as 
the Lesser Celandine has. 


Again, if we let the seeds grow, we find that 
they possess only one seed-leaf, not two coty- 
ledons. What do these features indicate, but 
that we must infer that the Celandine's ances- 
tors were aquatic plants? Such had descended 
from some lost ancestral buttercup which took 
to the water, just as the Water-crowfoot did. 
Many years ago it returned to the land again, 
and readapted itself to terrestrial and aerial 
conditions, though it could not throw off all its 
" acquired aquatic characters." 

The plant has thus retained so many of its 
features originally adapted to an aquatic life, 
and it has lost so much of the appearance of a 
buttercup, that it is no wonder there should be 
a doubt as to what it should be called. Sir J. D. 
Hooker, however, still retains it as a Ranunculus. 

Having thus obtained a new genus — for whether 
we call it a species of Ranunculus or of Ficaria, it 
is only a question of degree — the two genera need 
a fresh common name, and that is "Natural 
Order " or " Family." 

At the present day families contain from one 
to, it may be, hundreds of genera, all linked 
together by some common characters taken from 
their flowers or reproductive organs, generally. 

They are believed to have descended from 
some common ancestral stock. They contain 
many "doubtful" forms, which systematists 
arrange as genera in different families or species 
in different genera, according to their ideas as to 
how many and what sorts of different characters 
go to make the genus or species respectively. 

The greater number of genera and species, 


however, are well defined, and one has no hesi- 
tation in recognising a plant as belonging to a 
particular genus and family. 

As families and orders are now so many, 
botanists have grouped them on the same prin- 
ciples into "Cohorts," these again into " Divi- 
sions," and the last into the two Classes already 

I do not, however, propose to trouble the 
reader much with descriptions of Cohorts and 
Divisions ; but shall have a good deal to say 
about the Classes ; but I prefer to point out their 
characters by degrees, as I have to treat with the 
natural causes which produced them. 



flowers — {continued). 

If the classification of plants can be shown to 
be simpler than one might expect from a general 
survey of the immense variety in nature, the 
next question is — Can the various structures 
of flowers be also reduced to some simple! system, 
dependent upon a few causes, or perhaps a single 
cause, to which we can attribute their multi- 
tudinous shapes and colours ? 

I believe they can ; but here we cannot avoid 
being somewhat speculative, as actual proofs by 
experiment as to how flowers have been, and 
perhaps are still being, made, is difficult to 
obtain. Still we can depend upon much indue- 


tive evidence, or the accumulation of coincidences 
giving rise to probabilities of a very high order. 

Of course we do not know what the first 
flowers were like, but the G-ymnosperms appear 
to supply a link between Cryptogams, such as 
Ferns and their allies, and Dicotyledons. If, 
therefore, that of a fir-tree is to be trusted, as 
illustrating a primitive type of flower, we find 
stamens, but no corolla or calyx; and ivith 
regard to the female flower, for the two kinds 
are distinct on these trees, if it be asked how or 
when nature passed from constructing a simple 
naked ovule, either on the margin of an open 
scarcely modified leaf, as seen in the Cycads of 
South Africa (Fig. 1), or at the base of a flat scale 
as in pines, and began to fashion a pistil with an 
ovary, in which to include the ovules, we are 
still unable to reply. 

That petals were formed out of stamens seems 
an obvious fact, from water lilies, in which the 
transition is retained ; but other links are unfor- 
tunately lost, so that at present we must fill up 
the gaps by our imagination. 

In dealing, however, with existing flowers as 
we find them, we observe that the simplest con- 
dition is represented by an entire freedom among 
all the parts, so that a buttercup may be taken 
as representing a flower of this character, since it 
has five free sepals, five free petals, numerous 
free stamens, and many free carpels. The last 
two whorls being arranged spirally, after the 
manner of leaves. 

The whorls, too, are all "regular," in that their 
parts are of the same shape respectively 


While considering how flowers are constructed, 
I will here introduce some subsidiary classifica- 
tion. Thus all plants of the Class Dicotyledons 
which have both a calyx and a corolla, and their 
petals free, come under the "Subclass" Dichla- 
mydece 1 and "Division" Polypetalce. 2 

The first advance in structure is seen in one or 
more of the four floral whorls having the parts 
coherent; as familiar examples are the sepals of 
the calyx and the petals of the corolla forming 
tubes, one within the other, in the primrose, 
deadnettle, gentian, etc. 

The ten stamens of the Laburnum and of the 
Broom are united into a tube surrounding the 

nine coherent, one free. J n order to allow access to 

the honey within the staminal tube (Fig. 4). 

Lastly, a poppy-head is a pistil composed of 
some ten or more carpels united together. 3 

All Dicotyledons which have their corollas 
composed of coherent petals form the Division 

1 Literally l( two-cloaked," i.e., in reference to the pre- 
sence of a calyx and a corolla. 

2 Poly-petalce literally means * ' many-petalled " ; but 
Poly here stands for ' ' free." 

3 The reader should always make a point of examining 
everything described in this book, in nature, himself, 
whenever possible. 

4 Gamos, literally signifying ' 1 wedded," means here 

Fig. 4. — Stamens of Pea 

pistil, but in most flowers of 
the Pea family, or the Order 
Leguminosce, to which these 
belong, one (the uppermost) 
. of the ten stamens is free, 


Another kind of union among the parts of 
flowers is called " Adhesion." As co-hesion 
means "united together," and refers to the parts 
of any one whorl without respect to others, so 
ad-hesion always refers to the union between two 
or more different whorls. Thus, when the petals 
cohere to form what has been called a "gamo- 
petalous" corolla, it is almost an invariable rule 
that the stamens should be adherent to the 
corolla-tube, as in a primrose, deadnettle, gentian, 
etc. Two orders 
or families supply 
exceptions, they are 
the Canterbury Bell 
and the Heath 

Another curious 
modification results 
from a growth of the 

flower-stalk. The FlG> 6 ._ Flower of Apricot (vert sec1 

end Of this IS Usually p. petal; ov. ovary of the pistil of 

somewhat enlarged Z^^^T f ° rmed by 

into a knob OrCOne, FlG - 6.— Flower of Rose (vert. sect.). 

, . , , 7 ov. ovary of carpels, arising from the 

and Occasionally inner surface of the receptacular-tube 

takes on a great in- (re > ; sty - st y les of fred car P els - 
crease, as in the fruiting stage of the strawberry, 
the succulent, edible part being entirely flower- 
stalk. It is called the Floral Receptacle. It some- 
times happens that when a flower-bud begins to be 
developed, the middle point, where the pistil is, 
ceases to grow, while the circumference continues 
to do so. The final result is that a cup is formed, 
having the pistil at the bottom, while the sepals, 
petals, and stamens now spring from the rim of 

Fig. 5. Fig. 6. 



the cup. This is well seen in the apricot (Fig. 5) 
and cherry-blossom, which has only one carpel to 
form the pistil. In a rose, however, there are 
several free carpels within it, which can be easily 
picked out if the swollen urn-shaped extremity 
(which becomes the scarlet hip in autumn) be 
cut down the middle (Fig. 6). 

This "receptacular-tube 99 takes various shapes. 
In some, as the raspberry, it forms more of an 
expanded, dish-like structure, with a sort of little 
trough running round the base of the pistil. The 
use of it is to secrete honey, which fills the trough 
in the raspberry. In the rose it appears to have 
lost this function of secreting honey, the flowers 
only supplying pollen for food to bees. 

About one-half of the group Polypetalce are 
without this receptacular-tube; while the other 
half have it represented in some way or another ; 
so that while the former constitute the sub- 
division Thalamiflwce, 1 the latter are included in 
Calyciflorce. 2 

There is yet another modification to be men- 
tioned with regard to the receptacular-tube. In 
the apricot and cherry-blossom there is one carpel 
only, constituting the pistil, and quite free within 
the tube. When ripening the latter articulates at 
the bottom and falls off, leaving the cherry at 
the end of the stalk. 

1 These are fanciful and somewhat misleading terms ; 
for Thalamos is a Greek word signifying " chamber," but 
here must be understood to mean the " corolla on the 
thalamus," i.e. the floral receptacle. 

2 Calyciflorce would mean " corolla on the calyx," for it 
was invented when the now recognised ' ' receptacular- 
tube " was thought to be a " calyx-tube." 


In many cases, however, the receptacular-tube 
becomes adherent to the ovary during growth. 
In such flowers the pistil is usually composed of 
two or more coherent carpels. In apples and 
pears, however, there are five free carpels forming 
the star-like core when the fruit is cut across. 
But in such flowers as a currant (Fig. 7), fuchsia, 
any flower of the umbelliferous family, as of the 
carrot and parsnip, the swollen part below the 
flower if cut across will reveal 
the united ovary-cells. 

The interpretation is that 
the ovary is imbedded within 
the receptacular-tube which 
is adherent to it, and so 
forms the superficial covering. _ _ 

mi . K , i . , & Fig. 7.— Flower of Currant 

I his is evidenced by the (vert, sec.), showing 
sepals, petals, and stamens JJSS <g* ^ 

Standing On the top of the petals and stamens aris- 
• • • / ,i ing from the expanded 

ovary, i.e _ arising from the top of the receptacuiar- 
elevated rim of the recepta- tube - 
cular-tube, w T hich is now adherent to the ovary. 

Two words are used to signify these conditions, 
and may be described as follows : — If the calyx or 
perianth 1 be apparently inserted upon an ad- 
herent receptacular-tube (the old " calyx-tube " 
of authors), it is called "superior" {i.e. above the 
ovary), and the ovary is "inferior," i.e. not only 
enclosed within, but adherent to the receptacular- 

1 The " perianth" is the equivalent of the calyx and 
corolla taken together, when they are both alike. It is the 
usual condition with "bulbous" plants, e.g., of the crocus, 
lily, narcissus, blue-bell, tulip, etc. 



On the other hand if the ovary be free, and 
above the calyx or perianth, it is called "superior," 
the calyx or perianth being " inferior." 1 

It is only in a few families or orders of the 
Calyciflom and a few of Corolliflorce which have 
" inferior " ovaries. In Monocotyledons the two 
divisions are based on these differences as the 
words Epigynce " on the ovary," and Hypogynce, 
" under the ovary," imply. 

To make this a little plainer, suppose we take 
an apple. First notice the tuft at the top com- 
posed of sepals, withered stamens, &c. This often 
indicates an "inferior" fruit, as on a goose- 
berry and currant ; whereas a cherry, a peach, a 
grape, and an orange have no such remains of the 
flower and are " superior " fruits. 

Sometimes the tuft articulates leaving a clean 
scar ; so that one may be easily deceived, if the 
flower had not been examined. Thus gourds, 
cucumbers and melons are all true ' ' inferior" 
fruits ; but shew no withered tuft at the top. 

The structure of inferior fleshy fruits, as e.g. an 
apple (Fig. 8) is as follows : — An ovary, if free 
and superior as a peach, has three parts, viz., the 
inner lining or skin (fibrous in a pea-pod, stoney 
in a peach or plum), the middle and soft tissue, 
and an outer skin or epidermis. 

On the other hand a free receptacular-tube as 
of a rose, reveals three similar layers. 

Now, if the tube be adherent to the ovary, 
then the inner skin of the tube and the outer skin 

1 It is important to note that there must be adhesion 
between the ovary and calyx or perianth for these to be 
"inferior" and ' 4 superior" respectively. 


of the ovary, are not developed at all ; so that the 
two soft middle layers are fused into one mass. 
While the leathery core of an apple, or stoney 
covering to the seeds in a medlar and haw- 
thorn, enclosing two pips or seeds, represents the 
inner skin of the ovaries, the outer or "peel" be- 
longs to the receptacular tube or flower-stalk; and 
the thick fleshy edible part is a combination of 
the two inner layers, half being 
of the ovary, and half of the 

We thus see how flowers pass 
from entire freedom to various 
states of union ; and botanists 
consider such differences repre- 
sent the lines of evolution of 
flowers, cohesions and adhesions 

being of later introduction into 

Fig. 8.— Apple (vert, 
sec), showing fleshy 
receptacular - tube, 
with core and seeds ; 
inner boundary 
(double lines); and 
withered stamens, 
etc., on the summit. 

the world than the earlier state 
of freedom. 

Similarly it may be added 
that all irregularities in floral 
whorls, which are special adaptations to insect 
agency, 1 are later additions to regularity which 
marks a primitive condition. 

A flower is said to be complete when it has 
all four floral whorls ; but it often happens that 
one or more are wanting. This may be either a 
primitive condition as in Gymnosperms, which 
have only stamens and ovules wherewith to repre- 
sent flowers; or a flower may have become de- 

1 How irregular corollas, &c, have come into existence 
in consequence of insects visiting flowers for honey or 
pollen as food, will be fully explained hereafter. 


graded from a complete to an incomplete state; 
and so lost one or more of its parts. A large num- 
ber of plants are in this state among Dicotyledons; 
and botanists have placed them together under 
the term Incomplete as a " sub-class." It is doubt- 
ful whether some few among them be not of a 
primitive or very early type ; 1 but the prob- 
ability is that the greater number are really 
" degradations ; " for they often show points of 
affinity with plants of orders which have complete 

Incompletes are mostly destitute of corollas, so 
they are sometimes called apetalce, i.e. " without 
petals " ; and the group has been divided into 
two divisions according as a calyx is present, 
Monochlamydece, i.e. " one-cloaked " or when there 
is none, Achlamydece i.e. " cloakless." In this 
latter case the flower consists of stamens alone 
or a pistil alone as in the willow ; or they may 
be together, to form a flower. Thus in the com- 
mon spurges, a male flower is reduced to a 
single stamen. 

This sub-class Incomplete furnishes a good illus- 
tration of what occurs under evolution ; for this 
word not only includes " advances " with more 
and more complicated structures as animals and 
plants have risen in the scale of life ; as, e.g., in 
passing from a buttercup to a daisy, or from a fish 
to a mammal ; but accompanying progressive 
complexity, there are always degradations in 
some organ or other ; because they are no longer 
required. Hence many an animal and plant is 

1 Such as the Sweet Gale (Myrica) ; perhaps, too, willows 
and poplars and the Australian Beefwoods (Casuarina). 


far simpler in structure than its ancestor may 
have been ; either in certain parts of its body or 
wholly. 1 We shall see this well illustrated in 
such plants as have acquired parasitic habits. 

Much degeneration is to be seen also in aquatic 
plants ; for water has a very obviously degrading 
influence upon vegetative structures, as compared 
with those of allied plants growing on land ; as 
will be more fully explained hereafter. 

Similarly the structures of flowers, even when 
highly complicated, having adaptations in correl- 
ation with the visits of insects, are often coupled 
with degenerations in certain parts. This is very 
conspicuously so with orchids. Although these 
plants have remarkable and highly differentiated 
flowers, their seeds, the most important part of 
all, are in an extraordinary arrested condition, 
which renders them very difficult to germinate, 
not one out of thousands of seeds ever giving rise 
to a new plant. 

Again, if flowers which have previously been 
adapted to insects, such as orchids, come to be 
self -fertilising and independent of insects' visits, 
all the elaborate machinery may become de- 
graded, and the flowers reduced in size, the 
honey-secreting organs become honeyless, till 
even the flower-buds cease to expand; but in 
compensation fertility is greatly increased, and 
an abundance of seed is made ; for the stamens 
and pistil remain perfectly effective, the anthers 
being applied directly to the stigmas, the pollen 
often pours out its tubes into the latter while 

1 The reader is referred to Prof. Ray Lankester's work on 
u Degeneration " (Nature Series). 


remaining within the anthers. Such fertile buds 
are called "cleistogamous," i.e. " concealed unions,'' 
and may readily be seen on the violet. If the 
leaves be uplifted in the summer, numerous buds 
in all stages will be found on runners proceed- 
ing from the root-stock. More will be said 
about these hereafter. 

We thus discover the clue wherewith to explain 
the secret of the origin of the structures of flowers 
upon which classification is based. 

Hence the groups called Divisions stand in the 
order of evolution, as from a buttercup with all 
parts freely inserted upon the thalamus (Thalami- 
florce) to a strawberry with its parts free but 
inserted upon a receptacular tube (Calyciflorce). 
We then reach a coherent corolla (Corollijlorce), 
then finally degradation sets in, and we have the 

It is to be observed that one step is omitted, 
namely, all flowers with " inferior " ovaries. These 
are to be found in a certain number of orders of 
both Calycifloroz and Corolliflorce, eight of the 
former and seven of the latter among British 
plants ; or out of all known plants, these numbers 
must be raised to eighteen of the former, and ten 
of the latter ; i.e. comparatively few out of the 
163 orders of Dicotyledonous flowering plants 

Let us now have a few words on the classifica- 
tion of Monocotyledons. This class, as I shall 
endeavour to prove by collecting our evidence 
at different stages of our progress in the study of 
wild flowers, is derived from aquatic Dicoty- 
ledons. The " proof " lies in the great accumula- 


tion of coincidences, i.e. it is based on inductive 
evidence ; for we cannot test it experimentally. 

Now, Monocotyledons are readily divisible into 
two sub-classes. One has a calyx and a corolla, 
as in the Water Plantain, but it usually happens 
that these two whorls are both alike and " petaloid," 
i.e. " petal-like." Hence botanists substitute the 
word "perianth," as already observed, for the 
two whorls collectively, and speak of the outer 
and inner whorl (describing their parts as 
" leaves ") as representing the calyx and corolla 
of Dicotyledons. All such constitute the sub- 
class Petaloide^e. 

The other sub-class has no perianth, but the 
stamens and pistil are included in dry boat-shaped 
scales or " glumes " ; 1 such constituting the chaff 
of threshed wheat. These make up the sub-class 
Glumiferje, i.e. glume-bearers. 2 Of British plants, 
we only possess two families of this sub-class, viz., 
grasses (Graminece), and sedges (Cyperacece) ; but 
there are three foreign orders in addition. 

Looking at the adjoining table of Classification 
the reader will observe that species, genera, and 
orders are omitted. It has been already insisted 
upon that any one of these three groups must be 
known by "a collection of constant characters," 
and not by one, two, or very few. For we should 
soon find ourselves in difficulties if we trusted to 
one, two, or few characters, however important, 
wherewith to recognise a group. Because, as 

1 From the Latin word gluma, chaff. Mr G. Allen has 
illustrated a sedge, fig. 13, p. 79 ; and the wheat, fig. 30, 
p. 145 ; both being glumiferous. 

2 See "The Story of the Plants," fig. 13, p. 79. 



stated, it often happens that one or two out of 
the " collection " belongs to two or more species 
or genera, as the case may be. 

Now, this explains the difference between what 
has been called the "natural" system and an 
" artificial" system of classification. 

The latter depends upon one, two, or at most 
a very few characters alone, as will now be seen 
to be exemplified in the divisions of the sub- 
classes. Hence, these must be regarded as purely 
"artificial" and " unscientific." They are only 
introduced for convenience to break up an enor- 
mous number of orders into groups, i.e. the so- 
called "divisions." 

The classes, however, are based on a number 
of characters, five being here given in the table 
below; but there are others not mentioned, 
because they are taken from the minute micro- 
scopic anatomy of the interior tissues. 

The general conclusion, therefore, is, that in 
the present system of classification, nature made 
the species, genera, orders, and classes ; but 
botanists have, so to say, intercalated the divisions. 

It will assist the reader to have the above 
classificatory terms arranged in a tabular form, 
as follows — 

Classification of Phanerogams or 
Flowering Plants. 

class i. dicotyledons. 

[Chars. — Embryo, with two cotyledons; 
Axial root, present ; Stem, with wood in 
annual cylinders ; Leaves, with reticulated 


venation ; Floral whorls, in twos and fives, 
or their multiples.] 


sub-division 1. Thalawiflorce. 

2. Calyciflorv { gy.P°gyn». 
" * J \ Epigynae. 

division ii. gamopetaljE I Hypogynse. 

I Epigynse. 


sub-division 1. Monochlamydece. 
,, 2. Achlamydece. 


[Chars. — Embryo, with one cotyledon ; Axial 
root, arrested ; Stem, with woody bundles 
scattered ; Leaves, with parallel venation ; 
Floral whorls in threes.] 


| Epigynae. 




The natural history of wild flowers ought to 
begin at the beginning, so let us observe what 
takes place when seeds germinate. But, first, 
we must understand of what a seed consists, as 
they are by no means all alike. If we strip off 


the brown skin of an almond, after having soaked 
it in water, the white edible Embryo or young 
plant remains. This is easily separable into two 
halves united at one point. These are the first 
two leaves modified to store up reserve food- 
materials. Lying between them is a little bud 
or Plumule, and at the lower end of this is a 
tail-like body called the Radicle. The two leaves 
are called Cotyledons. A similar embryo fills the 
seed-skin in beans and peas. " Split peas " are 
so-called because the two cotyledons have been 

If, now, we examine a grain of wheat or of 
Indian corn, we shall find that the embryo only 
occupies a small space at one end, at the 
wrinkled spot in the wheat. All the rest is 
filled with a tissue of cells filled with starch or 
oil, and a nitrogenous substance called aleurone. 
In these cases, the embryo lives on these nutri- 
tious matters outside itself until it has roots, and 
leaves when it can assimilate mineral food. 

In order to germinate there must be a fitting 
temperature, according to the nature of the seeds ; 
they must be well moistened throughout, and 
have access to air ; for as long as they are per- 
fectly dry they will not germinate. Wheat is 
particularly short-lived, from four to twelve 
years being the maximum period which may be 
allowed ; but all stories of " Mummy wheat," 
extracted from the tombs of Egypt, and sup- 
posed to be some thousands of years old, having 
grown, are utterly false. As, however, this 
impossibility is still accepted as a positive fact 
by many persons, it may be advisable to give 


more fully some details about it, and at the same 
time explain the difference between "Mummy" 
and " Egyptian " wheats, for a popular error of 
confounding " Mummy wheat" with "Egyptian 
wheat" has lasted for at least half a century, 
and is not extinct yet ! Perhaps, therefore, a 
brief resume' of the subject may not be uninter- 
esting to my readers. In 1840, Mr M. Farquhar 
Tupper received twelve grains from Sir G. Wil- 
kinson, who, it was said, took them with his own 
hands out of a vase in an Egyptian tomb. Of 
these twelve Mr Tupper asserted that he raised 
one plant, which bore two poor ears, one of 
which was figured in the Gardeners' Chronicle 
(1843, p. 787). Mr Tupper 's account was re- 
ported in the Times (Sept. 1840). In the second 
and third years the wheat was described as 
having recovered its vigour, so that it bore ears 
seven and a half inches long, and was so like a 
good sample of Col. le Couteur's variety called 
" Bellevue Talavera," that even the experienced 
eye of that gentleman was unable to detect any 
difference. The eminent botanist, Dr Lindley, 
then editor of the Gardeners' Chronicle, in a 
leading article expressed his belief in the truth of 
the survival of the wheat after some 3000 years. 

Suspicions, however, were raised ; and a writer, 
signing himself " Este," suggested that there had 
probably been some tampering by the Arabs 
(Gardeners' Chronicle, p. 805). 

In 1846, Sir W. Colebroke is said to have 
raised several plants from " two grains of 
mummy wheat, received in 1842 ;" but it is not 
stated whether they were of the original sample, 


or of the produce of those raised by Mr Tupper. 
After cultivating them, Sir W. Colebroke re- 
marks — " I cannot resist the impression that 
this is a winter wheat) and if so, it cannot be 
a production of the soil of Egypt; for whence 
could the ancient Egyptians draw their supply 
of this grain 1 ?" In 1846 the late Professor J. 
S. Henslow received six grains from Mr Tupper, 
from the plant raised by him. He grew them 
with several other varieties of wheat in an ex- 
perimental border in his garden ; the following 
are his observations — " This-variety was specially 
remarkable for its exceeding length of straw and 
for flowering much earlier than any of the other 
varieties in my garden. In this and" in all other 
particulars I could not observe the slightest dif- 
ference between an ear of the Bellevue Talavera 
and that of the supposed mummy wheat. Both 
were also attacked more vigorously than others 
by rust and mildew." Suspecting some flaw in 
the testimony, application was made to Sir G. 
Wilkinson himself for a genuine sample, that it 
might be tried among a series of experiments on 
the vitality of seeds, which were at that time in 
progress under the superintendence of a com- 
mittee of the British Association. 

On receipt of the sample, great surprise was 
felt at the discovery of fragments of grains of 
maize (of American origin) intermixed with the 
grains of mummy wheat ! This, of course, led 
to further inquiry; and the conclusion arrived 
at was that the sample had most certainly been 
vitiated by the wheat having been placed in the 
common corn jars of Cairo ! 


It may be added that whenever on other occa- 
sions the actual grains of true mummy wheat 
have been carefully sown, they have never ger- 
minated. Thus, M. Denon, who accompanied 
Buonaparte's expedition to Egypt, tried to raise 
them in many ways, but he never succeeded. A 
Dr Steele also utterly failed in 1857. In fact a 
microscopic examination proves that the embryo 
is always destroyed, a section crumbling to 
powder under the microscope, though the starch 
grains are not decomposed, and still colour violet 
as usual with iodine. 

The popular confusion between "Mummy 
wheat" and "Egyptian wheat", is easily ex- 
plained. There is a not very rare variety of 
"Revets* wheat," which is "proliferous," that 
is to say, it bears two or more additional smaller 
ears at the base, in consequence of the lower 
"spikelets" growing out and becoming supple- 
mentary ears. This is supposed to resemble the 
ears described in Genesis (xli. 5), and has con- 
sequently received the popular name of " Egyp- 
tian wheat." The reports of "Mummy wheat" 
from Egypt having been grown in this country 
has thus given rise to the idea that this variety 
of Revets' was actually raised from the old grains 
brought from the tombs of Egypt. But as 
Professor Hen slow remarked, if Mr Tupper's 
experiments were trustworthy, the old Egyptian 
wheat must have been identical with the Belle- 
vue Talavera, and not at all like our modern 
" Egyptian " or the proliferous variety of Revets'. 

Finally, it may be noticed that wheat, in this 
country at least, is well known to agriculturalists 



to be particularly short lived. " An old farmer," 
writing to the Gardeners' Chronicle (1848, p. 787), 
remarks that, "We all know that the seed of the 
year is always preferred for sowing; that the 
seed of the year before would never be equally 
productive ; and that if seed five or six years 
old were sown, not half of it would come up." 
And I can add, that of apparently sound grains 
seventeen years old, not one germinated. 

Lastly, it may be added that Arabs impose 
upon tourists by taking fresh wheat, rolling it in 
Nile mud to give it the same mouse-colour which 
characterises mummy wheat, and then passing it 
off as such ! So ends the story of Mummy wheat ! 

The materials stored up as food consist of 
starch, sugar, oil, cellulose, and aleurone ; but as 
long as they are such they are useless. They 
must be converted into substances in a soluble 
condition, and capable of being assimilated ; starch 
and oil have to be changed into a particular 
form of soluble sugar, and the aleurones into 
"peptones," as they are called. Now, the way 
this is done is exactly like the process in our own 
bodies, for these substances stored up are the white 
" endosperm/' as botanists call it, but everybody 
else "flour," when ground, have to form our own 
flesh and bones and nerves, etc. As starch, for 
example, passes through the mouth a ferment is 
secreted, which partly changes it into sugar ; and 
when I say starch, I mean such familiar things 
as sago, tapioca, corn-flour, arrowroot, etc., for 
these are all precisely the same thing, and have 
the same use to the plants from which they are 


Whatever the reserve food material may be, 
nature supplies a ferment to convert it into 
something which the embryo can take up and 
utilize to make fresh cell-walls and renew its 
-living substance, protoplasm. Water and the 
oxygen of the air must enter the seed ; then 
these, with a suitable temperature, incite the 
embryo to breathe and to bring about the 
chemical changes mentioned. Respiration is 
as necessary for plant-life as for human beings, 
and the effect is the same. It breaks up cer- 
tain chemical compounds, as starch, causing 
the oxygen of the air to unite with the carbon, 
forming carbonic acid gas, which is expired ; but 
in so doing force is liberated which can now con- 
vert other things into assimilable substances for 
growth. A very simple experiment will illustrate 
this respiration. If some well-moistened peas be 
put into a closed wide-mouthed glass jar, and 
placed in a warm place in the dark ; after some 
time, if sufficient carbonic acid gas has accumu- 
lated, a lighted taper quickly thrust in goes out ; 
or if a little lime-water be poured in and well 
shaken, it acquires a milky appearance ; because 
the carbonic acid has united with the lime and 
made chalk-like carbonate of lime. 

We will now follow the life-history of a ger- 
minating acorn. This, like a bean or almond, has 
no flour or endosperm, but the embryo lives 
upon itself at first, having two massive coty- 
ledons full of starch, etc. 

If an acorn be suspended over water in a wide- 
mouthed glass jar, the radicle will be seen to 
protrude, and will at once grow downwards. 


If the acorn be inverted, the radicle will curl 
over, and again grow downwards. As seeds do 
precisely the same thing at the antipodes, it is 
presumably under the influence of gravity or the 
attraction of the earth. It has been found by 
Darwin and others that the influence of gravity 
only directly affects the "growing point," imme- 
diately behind the dead and protecting root-cap. 
That is, for a distance of two to three hundredth 
parts of an inch. If after the radicle has grown 
to some length, the seed be placed horizontally, 
then the end will curve downwards, but the bend 
is at some distance behind the growing point. 
This proves that the influence at the growing spot 
near the tip is conveyed up the radicle to a more 
or less distant point. 

If the *02 to *03 of an inch be removed, gravity 
then has no effect. 

Besides the influence of gravity^ the radicle 
will curve under that of pressure, vapour of 
water and light as well ; moving away from light 
and pressure; but towards moisture, as well as 
the earth. 

While growing in a vertical and downward 
direction, the radicle " circumnutates," i.e. it 
moves round, making, or trying to make, ellipses 
or circles, resulting in a more or less zig-zag 
motion. This enables the tip to find a place of 
least resistance in entering the soil. 

To penetrate the soil, the radicle must have 
some purchase or means of overcoming the re- 
sistance of the soil. Apart from being accidentally 
covered with earth, it at once begins to throw out 
root-hairs. These are simply epidermal cells 


which elongate, and by a sort of gluey matter 
fasten themselves to the particles of the soil. 
They thus are like tent ropes, and hold the radicle 
firmly while the apex grows. It is found that 
only a space of half-a-line grows at a time, all 
behind it soon ceases to elongate. The root now 
penetrates by means of the forces due to the 
longitudinal and transverse growths. Darwin 
tried some experiments to ascertain this strength. 
He cut a hole in a cleft stick, and allowed the 
radicle of a bean to grow through it. After six 
days the stick and bean were dug out of the 
damp sand, and the fissure, which at first was 
closed, now stood open. On removing the radicle 
the fissure closed, and it was found necessary to 
apply a weight of 8 lb. 8 ozs. to open it to the 
same extent as when the radicle was in it. This 
weight, however, does not express the really 
much greater amount of force used; because 
the bean had split the stick on the other side 
of the hole to a distance of half-an-inch. So 
that the force exerted must have been actually 

If a minute radicle can do this, it is not sur- 
prising to find roots of trees uplifting walls and 
bursting masonry asunder. Sir J. D. Hooker 
writes in his " Primer " on Botany that in shrubs 
and trees "the root-fibres as well as the tap-root 
thicken as they grow, become woody, and dis- 
place the earth laterally as well as in front ; 
moreover, with such force does growth go on that 
stones of walls are frequently displaced by roots. 
In tropical countries the destruction of buildings 
is often caused by the power of growing roots ; 



and neither conquering nations, nor earthquakes, 
nor fires, nor tempests, nor rain, nor all put 
together, have destroyed so many works of man 
as have the roots of plants which have all 
insidiously begun their work as tender fibres." 

Darwin refers to Sachs' experiment on tap- 
roots, that while they descend vertically, second- 
ary roots are much less affected by gravity, for they 
branch off at various angles from the main root ; 
but if the end of the primary radicle be cut off, 
one or more of the nearest secondary fibres now 
grows perpendicularly downwards instead of it. 
Darwin found that it was not necessary to ampu- 
tate the tip ; it is sufficient that the flow of sap 
into it should be checked, and consequently 
directed into the adjoining secondary radicles. 
He observes that this change in the nature of the 
secondary radicles is clearly analogous to that 
which occurs with the shoots of trees, when the 
leading one is destroyed and is afterwards re- 
placed by one or more of the lateral shoots ; for 
these now grow upright instead of somewhat hori- 
zontally. Darwin also notices that this power 
must often be of great service to the plant, when 
the primary radicle has been destroyed by the 
larvae of insects, burrowing animals or any other 
accident. He goes on to observe that from this 
manner of growth of the various kinds of root- 
fibres they are distributed, together with their 
absorbent hairs, throughout the surrounding soil, 
in the most advantag ous manner ; for the whole 
soil is thus closely searched. 

The next point to notice is the extreme sensi- 
tiveness of the tips of roots to moisture. Sachs 


invented a simple experiment to illustrate it 
(Fig. 9). A trough is made of wire gauze filled 
with wet moss, in which are some beans. It is 
suspended not horizontally, but at a high angle. 
As long as the radicles were within the wet moss 
and moistened all round, they grew vertically 
downwards and their tips protruded from the 
meshes. Now, however, there was a contest be- 
tween the attraction of the earth and the mois- 
ture of the moss on one side of the radicles, as the 
radicle made an acute 
angle with the sloping 
trough. The result 
was that the tip turned 
aside and re-entered 
the trough. But now 
finding itself again 
surrounded by a moist 
medium, the tip turned 
downwards and made _ A _ 

, . mi* Fig. 9. — Diagram representing a wire 
ltS Second exit. lniS giuze trough with germinating 

process was repeated beans< 

two or three times ; so that the radicle actually 

threaded the wire guaze. 

It is a popular belief of gardeners that roots of 
trees, etc., go in search of water ; but the simple 
interpretation is that the vapour, arising from, it 
may be underground water at a considerable dis- 
tance off, penetrates and reaches the tips of the 
roots, which now being influenced grow in the 
direction from which the moisture comes. 

Eadicles and roots are also sensitive to mechani- 
cal irritants, such as stones or other obstructions, 
which cause the tip to bend away from them. 



Darwin made some interesting experiments by 
fixing a small piece of card to one side of the tip 
of a radicle suspended in mid-air. Instead of con- 
tinuing to grow downwards it curved away in an 
opposite direction to the side on which the card 
was fixed, as if trying to get away from it. The 
tip, thus, not only completed one circle but a 
second, and actually passed through the loop, 
thereby tying itself into a tight knot. 1 A long 
radish was once dug up and found to be thus tied. 
It could not be accounted for until Darwin's ex- 
periment gave the most probable explanation. A 
remarkable difference appears to exist between 
the sensitiveness of the apex, and that at a point 
a little above it, viz., from *12 to *16 inch. For 
when this part was touched, the radicle turned 
towards the object, just as tendrils do. This 
accounts for the fact that certain plants which 
have aerial roots, as epiphytal orchids crawl 
round their means of support. In a subterranean 
root this curvature round an obstruction is some- 
what abrupt, so that the root at once resumes its 
downward direction. 

We must now observe what takes place with 
the plumule, which is destined to develop into 
the stem above ground. It would seem that the 
original determining cause was light; and as 
illumination is from the sky the plumules rise 
in response to it, 2 and if the incident light comes 
from a lateral source, the shoot bends and grows 

1 See Darwin's "Movements of Plants," p. 179, fig. 69. 

2 If the reader desire for the evidence in support of 
this conclusion, I must refer him to my " Origin of Plant 
Structures," ch. x. p. 197. 


towards it, as in an ill-lighted room. Plants 
may, indeed, be induced to grow upside down. 
An experiment has been made by growing seeds 
on a perforated shelf near the bottom of an 
inverted box, only lighted from below by a 
mirror reflecting light upwards into the box. 
Under these conditions the plumules grew 

There are two ways adopted by germinating 
seeds. In the case of the acorn the cotyledons 
remain below ground and the plumule rises at 
once and grows up, but in the mustard and cress, 
beech, etc., the cotyledons are elevated into the 
air by the lengthening upwards of the radicle, 
which now becomes a stem. The cotyledons 
then turn green and perform the functions of 
true leaves. The plumule remains dormant as a 
bud between them ; and when it subsequently 
develops in mustard, we consider it too old to 
be edible. 

Whether it be the plumule which first rises 
out of the ground or the radicle, they always 
commence in the form of an arch in preparation 
for freeing themselves from the superincumbent 
soil ; and the way they do this is well described 
by Darwin in the following illustration. He 
says — " We may suppose a man to be thrown 
down on his hands and knees, and at the same 
time to one side, by a load of hay falling on him. 
He would first endeavour to get his arched back 
upright, wriggling at the same time in all direc- 
tions (i.e. in imitation of the circumnutating 
plumule during its growth) to free himself a little 
from the surrounding pressure ; still wriggling 


he would then raise his arched back as high as 
he could ; and this may represent the growth 
and continued circumnutation of the arched 
stem before it has reached the surface of the 
ground. As soon as the man felt himself at all 
free, he would raise the upper part of his body 
while still on his knees and still wriggling ; and 
this may represent the bowing backwards of the 
basal leg of the arch, which in most cases aids 
in the withdrawal of the cotyledons from the 
buried and ruptured seed-coats, and the subse- 
quent straightening of the whole stem — circum- 
nutation still continuing." 1 

We have thus traced the history of a wild 
flower through its first stage from the embryo in 
the seed to the period when it has developed 
roots in the soil and has elevated its plumule 
above ground, which we will suppose has now 
produced its first year's leaves. 

We must now proceed to consider what the 
roots are about, to maintain the life of a plant. 



Roots assume a great variety of forms accord- 
ing to circumstances under which the plants 
grow, and to their requirements ; and when we 
see how they change their forms under cultiva- 
tion, we can understand how they were acquired 
in nature. 

1 " The Movements of Plants," p. 106. 


Thus of our root-crops, radishes, turnips, par- 
snips, carrots, etc., the wild flowers from which 
they are derived have long, spindly or wir y and 
tough roots utterly unsuited for food. Tie 
ancients did not know much, if anything, of the 
art of " selecting," now practised by all horticul- 
turists, by which our vegetables are " ennobled ; ;; 
but they used to bring the wild plants from the 
fields and plant them in a rich soil ; so that they 
became a little better in the second year; but 
they complained that they could not get rid of 
the "strong" flavour, as of the parsnip. 

As I shall have an opportunity in the last 
chapter to speak more at length of the origin of 
garden " roots," I will not do so at present. The 
obvious advantage to us is that the tap-root 
becomes greatly enlarged under cultivation and 
supplies us with valuable root-crops. 

Conversely, the effect of growing in water, is 
an arrest of the primary or tap-root ; so that it 
may be feebly developed only, or even not at all. 
This can be well seen if the seeds of our Water- 
crowfoot be grown in a glass bowl of water 
with earth at the bottom. As soon as they have 
germinated, various conditions of arrest of the 
roots will be found on the little plantlets. This 
feature is elsewhere discussed, to show how the 
permanent condition of an arrest of the primary 
root is one of the numerous features of Mono- 
cotyledons, that lead us to the inference that this 
Class is descended from aquatic Dicotyledons. 

Moisture, however, will often have an opposite 
effect, namely, it stimulates, not only the axial 
but secondary and other rootlets into vigorous 


growth. I have, for instance, a turnip plant, the 
primary root of which entered a field drain-pipe 
and spent all its energy in elongating, being 
stimulated to do so by the moisture, so that 
when extracted it was upwards of six feet in 
length. Sometimes such pipes get completely 
choked up with a dense mass of fine root-fibres 
of trees, etc., stimulated to multiply by the 
constant presence of moisture. 

Other illustrations of greatly elongated tap- 
roots are seen in many plants of the deserts. 
These only grow along the wadys or water- 
courses, but they are dry for nine or ten months 
of the year. The annuals and others, too, send 
down very elongated slender roots to reach the 
deep-seated water. Thus Dr Aitchison observed 
in Beluchistan that several of the Astragali (the 
genus, the gum of which is called Tragacanth), 
have long whip-like roots, the bark of which is 
employed as twine by the people. In the desert, 
near Cairo, a plant of Monsonia nivea (allied to 
Geranium), of one year's growth may be seen 
between July and January to have a small 
rosette of three or four leaves, while the roots 
may be twenty inches in length. Again, the 
Colocynth has an enormous length of root, in 
order to maintain its existence. It stands singly, 
has large herbaceous leaves, without any means 
of preventing an excess of transpiration, as a cut 
shoot fades within five minutes, and yet it 
flourishes unshadowed through the whole summer. 

The cause of the long tap-roots of so many 
desert plants is, of course, the responsive power 
of the apices to moisture, or hydrotropism. 


Another adaptation to the arid conditions of a 
desert is the capability of storing water in all 
parts of plants. In some cases this is done by 
the roots, as in the cortical regions of grasses. 
In three species of the Stork's-bill there are 
tuberous enlargements on the roots, which are 
water and not starch-bearing structures. Similar 
structures occur on the lowest internodes of the 
culms, or shoots of grasses, in other countries. 
It is interesting to note that they only occur in 
dry seasons, and not at all in wet ones. When 
experiments were made in growing Poa bullosa 
in moist soil, it almost lost its bulbous character, 
clearly proving, therefore, that these productions 
are the direct result of drought. 

These tuberous swellings on the subterranean 
stems are, therefore, clearly analogous with those 
on the roots of Stork's-bill, some being potato-like 
tubercles, others finger-shaped or spindle-like. 
They all contain a storage tissue protected exter- 
nally by a strong many-layered cortical coating. 
Their position being between the absorbing root- 
apices and the foliar transpiring surfaces, they act 
as reservoirs, and regulate the supply of water. 

Other reservoirs in the leaves and stems will 
be described in speaking of tropical and other 
plants in the next volume. 

Many plants have what are called contractile 
roots. These have for their function to draw the 
plant into the soil. They are especially well seen 
in tubers and corms, etc. For the depth at which 
these thrive best is characteristic of its kind, and 
so the tubers, etc., have to be taken down to the 
proper level underground. 


The shortening of the contractile root, by 
means of which the process is effected, is seen 
in the transverse wrinkling on the surface, say, 
of a carrot. It begins on the oldest and upper- 
most part of the root after elongation has ceased, 
and follows the growth to the apex. It may 
be readily observed in garden roots of parsnip, 
etc. It is due to a change in the 
forms of the cells of the surface- 
tissues. They undergo a contraction 
in a longitudinal direction, accom- 
panied with radial extension. There 
is a simultaneous absorption of 
water. The root though now 
shorter increases in bulk. 

The amount of shortening may 
vary from 5 to 40 per cent., the 
result being that the whole plant 
is more or less pulled down into 
the ground. 

If the corm of a crocus be ex- 
amined they will be seen to have 
two sorts, fine, absorbing roots, and 
thicker contractile ones (Fig. 11). 

A good illustration may be seen 
in the tips of bramble stems, which 
arching over a hedge, ultimately reach the ground. 
They then strike root, and the roots pull the tip 
of the shoot well into the soil. 

It is not all plants that bear contractile roots, 
for they are wanting in the colchicum ; but this 
is compensated for, as we shall see presently. 

If a seed of the Lords and Ladies be sown at 
the surface, it develops a little globular tuber at 

Fig. 11. — Fine, 
absorbing, and 
thick, contractile 
root of Crocus. 


a depth of about one inch. Next year this is 
carried down by contractile roots to a depth of 
two inches. When full-grown, the tuber, in the 
third year, will be at a level of four inches below 
the surface. 

If it be now raised and placed just under the 
soil, new contractile roots are formed, which at 
once begin to set to work to try to lower the 
tuber to its proper depth. 

In the case of the crocus, the new corms will 
be found growing from the summit of the old 
one, which decays after sending up the flower. 
Each cormlet produces a large contractile root 
which sometimes penetrates the old corm. By 
its means the young corm is ultimately dragged 
down to the level of the old and now flattened 
and decayed parent corm. 

The colchicum, however, as stated, has no con- 
tractile roots. These are compensated for by a 
curious provision of the stem. The depth to 
which the corms attain in the colchicum is 
somewhat considerable, after it has been grow- 
ing for several years. The downward growth is 
effected in the following manner. The new 
corm always rises laterally at the base of the 
old one ; but when a corm has not yet reached 
its normal level of about 6 inches; as, e.g. 
after germination, or if a full-grown corm be 
planted too high in the soil, the portion of the 
corm, which, of course, is stem-structure, from 
which the new corm develops, does not project 
horizontally, but points downwards, so that the 
new corm is formed slightly below the level of 
the old one. This procedure is continued year 



after year, till the corm finds itself at its proper 
subterranean level. In this plant, therefore, 
roots have nothing to do with the descending 
series of corms (Fig. 12). 

Besides contractile roots on tubers, etc.^ many 
other cases occur in which this phenomenon may 
be observed, as, for example, on the runners of 
strawberries ; these root at the joints where the 
young plants are formed, and the roots will draw 
the little tuft-like plants half- 
an-inch below the soil. 

Rock plants, again, as primu- 
las, etc., with their roots in 
crevices, are thus drawn into 
them; for, if it were not so, 
as the stem increases annually 
in length, producing a fresh 
tuft of leaves every year, in 
fig. 12. —corm of Coi- ten years there would be at 
chicum. a. with i eas t f 0U r inches of stem pro- 

descendmg bud ; b. . , . , r 

with lateral bud jecting ; but the last years 
(after Oliver). growth occupies the same place 
as the first, because freshly-formed contractile 
roots continually pull the year's portion of stem 
into the same place occupied by the former, as 
this decays away. 

The elevation of roots and stems of trees out 
of the ground may often be noticed. It is caused 
by the continual increase in size of the woody 
roots. The tap-root of the seedling tree soon 
ceases to grow, for all the moisture as a rule 
comes from above. Strong secondary roots run 
under the surface of the soil, radiating in all 
directions; as may be seen when a tree has 


been torn up by the roots in a gale, and blown 

These roots increase annually in an exogenous 
manner, layer after layer just as the stem does. 
This growth exerts a lateral pressure on the soil 
above, thrusting it upwards ; while the com- 
pressed soil below the root prevents its sinking, 
and acts as a means of resistance in raising the 
superficial soil. 

The thick woody root ultimately becomes 
visible as the soil gets loosened and washed 
away by the rain, till it is entirely stripped of 
the earth from above. 

Now, as all the roots grow alike, the stem of 
the tree becomes raised, and thus is explained 
the peculiar appearance of many old pines, oaks, 
ashes, etc. 

The elevation of the trees called " Mangroves " 
in the tropical swamps at the mouths, etc., of 
rivers, has often been noticed by travellers. 
They are not, however, supported by secondary 
roots arising from the primary or tap-root ; but by 
means of " adventitious roots " issuing out of the 
base of the stem, just as occurs in all monocoty- 
ledons, though the mangroves are dicotyledonous 
trees. As these roots lengthen and thicken, the 
young trees are raised above the mud, and then 
look as if supported on stilts. 

It may be noted that the mangroves are trees of 
two very distinct families of no affinities whatever. 
One kind of the true, mangroves, 1 as they might 
be called, belong to the Division Calyciflorae. The 
others to the Verbena family, belonging to the 
1 Wiizophorece. 



GamopetalaB. In both, the characteristic feature 
of the arrest of the primary root takes place, as 
in other aquatic plants. Then, there are the screw- 
pines, which are true monocotyledons, and sup- 
ported in a precisely similar manner. Hence is 
the justifiable inference, that growing under the 
same conditions similar results have followed in 
the structure and habit of those trees. 

Another, but exceptional, function of roots is 
the propagative. They do not, as a rule, produce 

fig. is. -shoot arising washed away their horizontal 
from horizontal root of roots become exposed. Then 
Raspbeiry. a whole crop of elm-under- 

wood springs up, and, in fact, not infrequently it 
makes a complete elm-hedge. Plum trees and their 
allies, as apricots and peaches, are very prone to be 
exceedingly troublesome in sending up quantities 
of shoots from their roots. While the raspberry 
will spread to a considerable distance, not by 
suckers, which are shoots from underground stems, 
but by budding from the slender roots (Fig. 13.) 

Of course, such shoots really represent Nature's 
method of vegetative propagation, because any 
shoot can grow into a new herb or tree as the 
case may be. 

leafy buds ; but there are 
many exceptions. A rather 
general one is, that when 
roots of trees are exposed 
to the air and light, they often 
do so; and as it frequently 
happens that elm-trees have 
been planted in a hedge, as 
the earth from the bank gets 


Gardeners take advantage of the facilities 
offered by peaches to propagate them by means of 
their roots. They take off spare roots, and placing 
them on a gentle bottom heat, they will start into 
leafy growth, and then begin to form new roots, 
thus together laying the foundation of a new plant. 

In speaking of roots, we must not forget a use 
to which Nature puts them, viz., as instruments 
for climbing. The ivy is the most familiar ex- 
ample with us. These roots naturally arise on 
the shaded side of the stem, i.e., towards the wall 
or tree against which the ivy may be growing. 
When the roots reach the wall, the contact excites 
the superficial cells — as also it does with the 
aerial roots of epiphytal orchids — to secrete a 
gummy matter which fixes them ver} r firmly, so 
that they cannot be removed as a rule, at least 
when young, without tearing them to pieces. 

Foreign plants have far more elaborate methods 
of utilising roots growing in the air; some of which 
I shall consider in the second volume of "The 
Story of Wild Flowers," which w r ill be more especi- 
ally concerned with plants of foreign countries. 



Like flowers, the forms of leaves seem to be 
infinitely diverse ; but they too, are reducible 
to a simple arrangement, based upon their evolu- 
tionary history. Indeed, we can see, even now, 


how many can change considerably, when the 
environment is altered, both in external form 
and internal anatomy. Thus, one of the most 
powerful agents in effecting changes is the amount 
of light received by leaves, coupled with their 
positions in regard to it. 

A leaf usually consists of two parts, the leaf- 
stalk or petiole and the blade or lamina. 

Many leaves have also appendages situated at 
the insertion of the petiole, called stipules. These 
are either entirely free from it as in the lime, in 
which they form bud-scales and soon fall off in 
spring-time ; or they may form wing-like append- 
ages to the petiole, as on the leaf -stalks of the 
rose, strawberry and clover. What is called the 
skeleton of the leaf, when all else has decayed, is 
the woody framework upon which the green tis- 
sues are spread out to receive the light. It is a net- 
work constructed of what has been foolishly called 
" ribs," "veins," and " nerves," according to their 
size, the leaf being said to have a reticulated 
"venation " if it belong to a Dicotyledon, and a 
parallel, at most a " curvinerved " venation, if it 
be a Monocotyledon, allowing for exceptional 

The fibro-vascular-bundles 1 of which the skele- 
ton is composed are derived from the cylinder of 
wood in the stem. This is really, at least in most 
cases, composed of isolated cords, but close to- 
gether, with only a single layer of cells called the 
medullary rays, between them. One, three, five or 
more of these cords, pass outwards through the 
cortex or outermost tissue of the stem and enter 
1 For shortness I will call these (< cords." 


the leaf-stalk. They then run up it, parallel to one 
another till they reach the blade, in which they 
either form the mid-rib, which gives off lateral 
branches, i.e. " pinnately - nerved, " or diverge, 
to form a " palmately-nerved " blade ; the finer 
branchlets " anastomose" i.e. unite together, leav- 
ing ultimately very small interstitial places. It 
thus forms a stiff framework, in order to make 
the large surface for exposure to light. They also 
carry the fluids up and down which are concerned 
in the processes of " transpiration " and " assimi- 

The reader will find it an interesting subject 
to pursue, to notice how the mechanical diffi- 
culties of supporting heavy leaves are overcome. 
In many, the lower end of the petiole widens 
into a triangular broad and thickened base of 
attachment called the "pulvinus." The leaf usu- 
ally articulates at the bottom of the pulvinus 
when it is time to fall, as may be seen in the 
Horse-chestnut. As the whole weight of the blade 
and petiole has to be supported at this point, the 
strain is, of course, entirely felt there, and the 
longer the petiole and the greater the blade, the 
stronger must be the base of the petiole so that 
the leverage may overcome the weight due to 
^gravity. If a young growing leaf be found cap- 
able of breaking with a certain additional weight 
suspended from the petiole, and a slightly less 
weight be attached to a petiole of a similar size, 
i.e. just insufficient to snap it off ; after some 
days, it will be discovered that this petiole will 
be able to bear a much greater strain than if it 
had not been subjected to an artificial weight at 



all. In other words, just as an athlete's muscles 
increase by use, so do plants respond by making 
efforts to meet strains of all sorts put upon them. 
This effort is seen in the increase of the so-called 
mechanical tissues, such as woody-fibre, liber- 
fibre, hardened cellular tissue called " scleren- 
chyma," and " collenchyma," etc. But, besides 
this, the arrangement of the cords is strictly 
adapted to gain this end. When the leaf is very 
large, the base of attachment increases and gradu- 
ally, so to say, spreads and clasps the stem more 
or less all round it as a sheath. In some plants 
the two ends of the horse-shoe-like base almost 
meet. In others they do so entirely and so make 
a complete sheath. The former is common in 
"Umbellifers," the latter is usual in palms. More- 
over the sheath is, in palms, provided with 
additional means of strength m having a double 
set of fibres interlacing one another diagonally. 
They thus form a powerful aid to the enormous 
petiole which often has to carry at its end a 
gigantic blade. 

The petiole will be often observed to be grooved 
on the upper side, as in large leaves of umbel- 
lifers, the ash, etc., a section giving a horse-shoe 
shape or that of a U thickened at the bottom. 
Now, the use of these upper edges is precisely the 
same as flanges to a girder, they resist a trans- 
verse fracture ; for a round, horizontal rod will 
be found easier to break with a weight than 
one provided with these flanges. It will be re- 
membered that Fox's umbrella-stays are made on 
this principle. 

The usual distribution of cords in a petiole is 


to have the two " lateral " ones taking a rather 
higher position in a grooved petiole than the 
central and larger one, below. The reader will 
now see the significance of this arrangement, the 
flanges being extra growths over these cords. 
The interpretation of this arrangement is to 
acquire strength so as to resist the tendency of the 
petiole to break under the weight of the leaf itself. 

Some petioles are 
quite round like a stem. 
When this is the case 
the cords are arranged 
in a complete circle, i.e. 
precisely as in a stem, 
nature having found that 
arrangement to be the 
best under the circum- 
stances. This occurs in 
the Sycamore Maple. 

As a readily observ- 
able instance of change, it Fig. 14. — Climbing flower-stalk of 
may be noticed that When Uncaria, thickened after catch- 

J . , - ~, mg a support. 

a petiole of a Clematis, 

etc. (Fig. 14), has caught hold of a neighbouring 
shoot, it coils round it and then begins to thicken 
and strengthen itself, as it has now to bear a portion 
of the weight of the plant. To do this the space 
between the isolated cords is filled up by others 
until a complete cylinder of wood is made. 

The general law, therefore, is that in propor- 
tion as the weight of a leaf increases, so does the 
mechanical machinery develop itself to meet the 
strain, and even more tissue than is actually 
required for safety ; and nature can always 


adopt various contrivances to meet individual 

Now, let us consider the origin of the various 
kinds of leaf-blades among wild flowers. 

The simplest form of leaf has a single cord 
running up the middle of the blade, called the 
"mid-rib," with an uninterrupted or "entire" 
margin. An ivy leaf arising from the free shoot 
from the top of a wall or high up a tree-trunk 
will illustrate this ; but not only may the margin 
be "toothed" or "serrated" like the leaflets of 
a rose-leaf, but it may be deeply indented so to 
become " lobed," as is the ivy leaf of the stem 
when adherent to a wall, etc., by means of ad- 
hesive roots. 

The indentation producing the projecting lobes 
may be of various depths in different leaves, till 
the mid-rib is reached. 1 But as long as the 
parts are united at all at their bases along the 
mid-rib, the blade still remains "simple." If, 
however, they are completely separated, then the 
leaf is called " compound/ 7 and the separate 
parts are now called leaflets. Such is very charac- 
teristic of the Pea-family ; thus clover and melilot 
have three leaflets, and are called "trifoliate," 
hence the name "trefoil " is a synonym for clover. 
The garden acacia has two rows of leaflets, and is 
then said to be "pinnate.'* 

That all compound leaves have been evolved 
from simple ones is obvious from the existence of 
numerous transitional conditions to be found in 
many plants. Thus a good search on blackberry 
bushes will reveal simple leaves situated near the 

1 All sorts of degrees may be seen in oak-leaves. 


flowers, then leaves with three leaflets and also 
with five may be found ; as well as leaves in which 
the lower pair are lobed, foreshadowing the 
separation of the basal portions into distinct 
leaflets. In the common cinque-foil all states 
from a single, simple blade to three, five, and 
even seven, leaflets can readily be found. 

If the leaflets radiate from the top of the leaf- 
stalk as in the last-mentioned, or as in a Lupin 
or Horse-chestnut, the origin is precisely the same, 
only instead of the original simple leaf having a 
strong mid-rib, several of equal strength radiate 
from the top of the petiole at the base of the 
blade. Then each of these supply mid-ribs to as 
many leaflets, when it forms a compound " pal- 
mate " leaf. Such is due to an arrested condition 
of the mid-rib, supplemented, however, by several 
ribs instead, as in a geranium leaf. 

Compound leaves, therefore, of both types are 
referable to simple leaves of corresponding forms. 

A good illustration of the origin of the primary 
lobing process may be seen in a long, vigorous, 
annual shoot of the common snowberry of our 
shrubberies. At first, when vigour is only in its 
initial stage, the shoot bears small oval and entire 
leaves. When it arrives at its maximum degree 
of strength the leaves are large and lobed. But 
at the end of growth the leaves are once more 
small, oval and entire. 

This shows that lobing is correlated with the 
most vigorous condition, when the struggle be- 
tween vigour in developing the stem, and " assimi- 
lation " to supply material for development of 
the leaves as well, are not equal. The result 


being that the entire outline of the leaf, i.e. by 
joining all the apices of the lobes, cannot be fully 

Now, everything, as it has been said, tends to 
become hereditary. Whatever was the primary 
cause of "lobing," it has become a " fixed" char- 
acter in all plants in which it is at present a 
characteristic feature. 

We cannot always trace the hidden causes of 
outward forms, but we may reasonably speculate. 
Thus, the difference between the large mostly 
five-lobed leaves of the ivy when climbing and 
the small oval leaves on freely growing branches 
of the same, seem to be correlated with the energy 
displayed in making the stems. In those stems 
which are supported by adhesive roots, more pith 
and less wood is found than in those which have 
to support themselves in the air, in which the 
woody cylinder is relatively thicker in stems of 
the same diameter as in the former condition. 
It would seem, therefore, that as materials are 
required to strengthen the stem, leaf-producing 
energy is lessened, and it only produces the more 
primitive type of foliage. 

Let us now trace the causes of some other 
types of foliage. It is readily seen that when 
leaves can place their blades horizontally, so as to 
be well illuminated from above, they have a more 
or less considerable amount of breadth. 
v When they stand erect from the habit of living 
crowded, as of grasses and sedges, pinks and carna- 
tions, thrift, stitchwort, and many others, the 
leaves are more or less of a narrow or " linear " 
form, as has been already observed ; and experi- 



ments show that plants can be more or less 
actually induced to make variations in the breadth 
of their leaves, according as they are made to 
grow more or less illuminated. Hence we obtain 
a clue to, at least, a general cause to account for 
differences in breadth. This also explains the 
ribbon-like form of 
leaf of so many sub- 
merged leaves, especi- 
ally of Monocotyle- 
dons, as water cuts 
off a very consider- 
able amount of light, 
especially laterally, 
the chief and only i 
source, of course, 
being from above ; so 
the leaves, or rather 
"phyllodes," ue. flat- 
tened petioles, con- 
tinue to grow upwards 
till they reach the 
surface of the water ; 

d., . ..-ii ,i Fig. 15. — Potamogeton heteropliyllus. 

it is not till then 

that a horizontal and broad blade is made, as 
of a Pond-weed, which possesses linear leaves 
below the surface, and broad elliptical blades 
floating upon it (Fig. 15.) 

It is not in the outward form only that the 
difference is observable, but it lies in the anato- 
mical structure as well. As a rule, e.g. the breath- 
ing pores or stomata are mainly or entirely on 
the underside of aerial and horizontal blades. 
In a vertically growing blade, however, they are 


equally distributed on both sides, while the ad- 
jacent cells of the epidermis may take on the 
same characteristic shapes in plants of widely 
different families, as of thrift, a Dicotyledon, and 
a grass, a Monocotyledon. 

All the details, which I need not further specify 
now, show how readily structures will change, as 
soon as external conditions are altered. The 
changes, be it observed, are always for the benefit 
of the plant, by putting them in better adaptation 
with their environment. 



Many families, as those of the Rose and Pea, as 
well as of the Lime, Elm and Oak, are regularly 
provided with stipules, as the two appendages at 
the base of the leaves are called. They assume 
a great variety of forms, and may all be regarded 
as basal portions of the leaf itself. For just as 
the usual lowermost pair of leaflets of any pinnate 
leaf are provided with a petiole and mid-rib, the 
woody cords of which issue from the main petiole 
of the leaf ; so, too, the fibro-vascular cords w^hich 
enter the stipules always arise from the lateral 
cords which enter the petiole of the leaf. Since, 
however, they issue out of the stem itself, before 
the petiole is entirely external to the stem, the 
two stipules often appear to have nothing to do 
with the leaf, other than always taking their rise 
close to the base of it, one on either side. 


Still there are so many cases in which the 
stipules form a sort of wing to the petiole itself, 
as in the rose, that the origin, in such cases, 
seems to be clearly appendicular to the petiole, 
and issuing out of it. 

The stem of a Dicotyledon has, of course, a 
cylinder of wood composed of numerous distinct 
cords only separated by single layers of cells, 
called the medullary rays. One, three, or more of 
these enter the petiole of the leaf. They do not 
pass from the cylinder in contiguity ; but while 
the central cord goes directly into the petiole, a 
pair issue at a little distance from it ; and, it may 
be, another still further off, till, in some cases, 
a whole series pass into it. When that is the 
case, the petiole is seen to widen out at the base, 
and make a sheath, more or less grasping the 

Now, when there are stipules, the cords which 
enter them invariably branch off from the lateral 
cords which belong to the petiole of the leaf, and never 
issue directly out of the cylinder of the stem 

This is easily observable in some soft-wooded 
stem, as of a geranium. If it be cut across at a 
node, and a few thin sections be made through 
the base of the stipule and below it, and then 
held up to the light, the origin of the stipular 
cords can be traced without much difficulty. 

If there be two, i.e. opposite leaves at a node, 
then a horizontal cord runs completely round the 
stem, external to the cylinder joining the outer- 
most cords of the petiole. This is called the 
stipular zone, because the stipular cords — usually 



four in number, as there are two stipules to each 
leaf — issue out of it. 

This zone is easily seen in the common cleavers ; 
for if a thin section be made just above and 
below the whorl of so-called leaves, and held up 
to the light, it will be readily seen that true 
stem-cords only enter two of them (Fig. 16.) 
One of these can usually be recognised as a true 
leaf by the bud in its axil; the 
other true leaf will be situated 
exactly opposite to it. All the 
rest, though assuming the exact 
form, and, of course, the functions 
as well, of leaves, have their cords, 
which make the mid-ribs, issuing 
from the zone, and never from the 
stem-cylinder itself. Hence all but 
two of the " leaves " are really 

Having thus made the stipular 
zone to supply stipules with cords, 
Nature sometimes takes advantage 
of it, and increases the number of 
stipules. Thus while the dwarf species found 
commonly in heaths has the right number of two 
to each leaf, the Lady's Bedstraw or Yellow 
Galium has from eight to twelve in a whorl. 

The family to which the galiums belong contains 
the coffee and cinchona trees. These have only 
two stipules ; but our four genera, the woodruff, 
madder, blue sherardia, and galium, have at 
least four, so that, as they are all leaf-like, they 
look like a radiating leafy star. Hence botanists 
make a tribe of them, which they call Stellatce. 

Fig. 16. — Trans- 
verse section of 
node of Galium, 
showing three 
lateral cords for 
each leaf ; and 
four for four 
stipules arising 
from the stipular 
zone. The in- 
ternal semi- 
circles form the 
stem -cylinder of 


Botanists place the Valerian family as immedi- 
ately following the Madder family. Now this 
never has stipules, yet if the stem of the Eed 
Valerian (which grows abundantly on walls and 
rocks, and is in fact quite naturalised, though 
really being an escape from cultivation) be ex- 
amined as explained with the cleavers, a stipular 
zone will be found, and four or five short cords 
radiating from it, but they do not reach the 
surface, and there are no stipules at all. This 
means that the plant's ancestors had stipules, but 
they have disappeared and nothing but rudi- 
mentary cords which formerly entered them 
are retained. Other rudiments are common in 
plants, and are always interesting as pointing 
to former structures which are now no longer 
of use. Analogous cases occur in the animal 
kingdom ; thus serpents, the slow-worm — which 
is really a kind of lizard and not a snake at all — 
and, again, whales have rudiments of hind legs 
beneath the skin but not visible externally ; 
showing that all those animals have been de- 
scended from quadrupeds. Having, however, 
become adapted to a different method of pro- 
gression, either one pair, of both pairs of limbs 
have atrophied and all but disappeared. 

In some of the pea family the stipules are 
large and leaf-like, or foliaceous, as it is said, as 
of the garden pea. The two stipules are when 
young pressed together in a vertical direction, 
forming a sheath for protecting the bud be- 
tween them. Subsequently they acquire all leaf 
functions in compensation for the loss of some 
of the leaflets which are turned into tendrils 


for climbing purposes. In our Yellow Vetchling, 1 
the whole of the leaf has become a fine thread- 
like tendril; so the large triangular-shaped 
stipules have to do the entire work of the 

Stipules are also foliaceous in the pansy and 
hawthorn tree. 

In the oak, beech, lime, elm, etc., the stipules 
acquire a totally different function, for they are 
employed as bud-scales. Being formed in the 
autumn for protecting the delicate parts of the 
next year's shoots ; so as soon as the buds 
expand in spring, the brown stipular scales 
fall off. 

In many cases — perhaps it may be regarded 
as their chief function — stipules protect the bud 
in the axil of the leaf. In severai species of 
plants in the deserts they are almost rudimentary, 
being like a thin white, membranous, nearly 
dry scale ; and as the internodes are very short, 
they seem to clothe the whole plant with silvery 
scales. They shield the plant's buds from the 
intense heat and glare by reflecting them. We 
have allied plants in England called the Sandwort- 
Spurreys. In these stipules the converse to the 
Valerian has taken place; because although the 
stipule has remained in a very degraded form, 
it has no mid-rib at all. The same remark is 
applicable to the rudimentary stipules of the 
common Dog's Mercury. 

In some trees and shrubs, the stipules have 
assumed a spinescent form, and often of a very 
formidable character; so that when they are 
1 Lathyrus Aphaca. 


used as hedges they are very effective as protec- 
tions. There are two species of Acacia used for 
this purpose in S. Africa, the Kaffir bush and 
the "Wait-a-bit" thorn bush (Fig. 16.) 

One of the most curious uses to which these 
stipular thorns have 
been put, is by ants 
as a domicile. Mr 
Belt, in his work 
"The Naturalist 
in Nicaragua, ;? thus 
writes: — " There is 
a species of Acacia 
with bi-pinnate 
leaves, growing to a 
height of fifteen to 
twenty feet. The 
branches and trunk 
are covered with 
strong curved 
spines, set in pairs, 
from which it re- 
ceives the name of 
the bulPs-horn 
thorn, they having 
a very strong re- 
semblance to the 
horns of that 

quadruped. These Fig.IT. — Acacia with spinescent stipules. 

thorns are hollow, and are tenanted by ants, 
that make a small hole for their entrance and 
exit near one end of the thorn, and also burrow 
through the partition that separates the two 
horns ; so that the one entrance serves for 


both. Here they rear their young, and in the 
wet season every one of the thorns is tenanted ; 
and hundreds of ants are to be seen running 
about, especially over the young leaves. If one 
of these be touched, or a branch shaken, the 
little ants swarm out from the hollow thorns 
and attack the aggressor with jaws and sting. 
They sting severely, raising a little white lump 
that does not disappear in less than twenty-four 

" These ants form a most efficient standing 
army for the plant, which prevents not only the 
mammalia from browsing on the leaves, but de- 
livers it from the attacks of a much more danger- 
ous enemy — the leaf-catting ants. For these 
services the ants are not only securely housed 
by the plant, but are provided with a bountiful 
supply of food ; and to secure their attendance 
at the right time and place, this food is so 
arranged and distributed as to effect that object 
with wonderful perfection. The leaves are bi- 
pinnate. At the base of each pair of leaflets, in 
the mid-rib, is a crater-formed gland, which, 
when the leaves are young, secrets a honey-like 
liquid. Of this the ants are very fond ; and 
they are constantly running about from one 
gland to another to sip the honey as it is secreted. 
But this is not all ; there is a still more wonder- 
ful provision of more solid food. At the end of 
each of the small divisions or leaflets there is, 
when the leaf first unfolds, a little yellow fruit- 
like body united by a point at its base to the end 
of the pinnule. Examined through a micro 
scope, this little appendage looks like a golden 


pear. When the leaf first unfolds, the little pears 
are not quite ripe, and the ants are continually 
employed going 
from one to an- 
other, examining 
them. When an 
ant finds one 
sufficiently ad- 
vanced, it bites 
the small point of 
attachment ; then, 
bending down the 
fruit-like body, it 
breaks it off and 
bears it away in 
triumph to the 
nest. All the 
fruit -like bodies 
do not ripen at 
once, but succes- 
sively, so that the 
ants are kept 
about the young 
leaf for some time 
after it unfolds. 
Thus the young 
leaf is always 
guarded by the 
ants, and no cater- 
pillar or larger 
animal could attempt to injure them without 
being attacked by the little warriors. The fruit- 
like bodies are about one-twelfth of an inch long, 
and are about one-third of the size of the ant, so 

Fig. 18. — Acacia cornigera. (Photo, of 
leaf 5 nat. size.) The honey-gland 
is situated just above the horn-like 
stipules. The fruit-like bodies appear 
as terminal points to the leaflets. 



that the ant bearing one away is as heavily laden 
as a man bearing a large branch of plantains" 
(Fig. 18). 

Stipules, as well as petioles, may be nectari- 
ferous, as for example is the case with our common 
tares which secrete honey in sunny weather from 
glands on the stipules. 

The " Crown of Thorns " was probably made 
of the flexible shoots of a plant common in the 
east, known to botanists as Paliurus, and allied 
to our buckthorns. The " thorns " are stipules. In 
another species the stipular thorns are all curved 
downwards like those of brambles, and for the 
same purpose, that of scrambling over the 
hedges, etc. 

The tendrils of the bryony have been regarded 
as stipules, since they issue from the stem close 
to a leaf ; but the origin is a little anomalous. If 
a section be made, it will be found that the cords 
do not form a perfect cylinder, but are some- 
what scattered, as occurs in the leaf-stalk of the 
rhubarb, and in all Monocotyledonous stems. 
In these, transverse cords are formed at the 
nodes uniting them together, and forming a 
sort of network from which cords enter the 
leaf, and also the tendril in the case of the 
bryony ; so that it may be really called ' ' stipular," 
though its origin is a little anomalous. 

I have alluded to the rhubarb, and the stipules 
of this plant, as of all its allies of the same family, 
viz., that containing the docks, knotgrass, &c, 
are united so as to form a complete sheath round 
the stem. This encloses the petiole, and so, as 
it were, binds it to the main stem, and gives it 



great support. This support in the case of palms 
is secured in a similar way, only it is in these 
the sheathing base of the petiole itself, which 
completely wraps round the trunk of the tree. 

It may be noticed how remarkably weak the 
leaf-stalk of the rhubarb is, in that a slight pres- 
sure causes it to snap in two. This is due to the 
fact that the cords are not arranged as in most 
leaves, but scattered throughout the petiole, just 
as in all Monocotyledonous stems. There is no 
union between them to impart strength. A walk- 
ing-stick made of coconut wood, or other palm, 
though much stronger, often breaks with com- 
parative ease, for the same reason ; as the wood 
consists of isolated cords penetrating pith, which 
last, though harder than in the soft tissue of a 
leaf-stalk of the rhubarb, is in reality the same 
thing, and therefore of a treacherous material for 
a staff. 



Besides the propagation of plants by seeds, 
the various methods adopted by the vegetative 
system of plants for multiplication is very curious. 
I propose to discuss some of them in this chapter. 

Buds, in the form of bulbils or cormlets, are 
sometimes formed, and readily detached from the 
aerial parts of plants. Thus in the so-called 
bulbiferous lily and coral-wort, little bulbs are 
produced in the axils of the leaves, and fall off 



as the stem is swayed by the wind, and so get 
scattered to some distance. 

Species of polygonum and onion produce bulbils 
instead of flowers, and these can be easily separ- 
ated in a similar way. 

In every case there must be a sufficiency of 
nutritive matter stored up for the little plant to 
live upon until it has made roots and leaves of 
itself. It is sometimes in the form of a corm or 
solid axis. This is the case with the viviparous 
polygonum and the lesser celandine, when grow- 
ing in shady places, where it produces no flowers. 
After falling off these little buds, rest during the 
winter and at the next period of growth, send 
out little roots at the expense of the starch, etc. 
stored up, when green leaves soon follow, and it 
develops into a new plant. 

Similarly viviparous grasses, as they are called, 
are very common in Arctic and Alpine regions 
The sprouting leaf-buds of these, issuing from 
the place of florets in the panicle, may be thrown 
off, or the weight may be sufficient to bring the 
whole inflorescence down to the ground, when 
they strike root and become independent plants. 

Rock-plants of the genus of house-leeks furnish 
another peculiar method of multiplication. The 
plant consists of a rosette of thick fleshy leaves. 
New small rosettes are formed in the axils, from 
these thread-like runners grow to some distance, 
and terminate with another little ball-like rosette. 
When the runner decays the little plant is freed 
from the parent, and the wind rolls it along the 
slopes of the rocks, when it may fall over to 
another resting-place, and as soon as it finds a 



suitable spot, roots are formed, and it becomes 
fixed in the soil of the crevice. 

There is a rare British stone-crop, which, besides 
bearing viviparous buds in place of flowers, propa- 
gates by aid of its leaves. It has three ways, or 
rather three stages of development, each of which 
can give rise to an independent plant. Minute 
buds arise in the axils of the uppermost 
leaves of the stem, which become em- 
bedded in the base of the fleshy leaf. In 

Fig. 19.—Sedum dasyphyllum. Leaves with buds detached from the 
plant for natural propagation ( x 4 times, after Kerner). 

lower leaves the bud has grown to a tiny rosette, 
while in the lowest it develops a footstalk. 

On the withering of the stem, the leaves fall 
off carrying the buds with them, and being nearly 
hemispherical in shape they roll away. When 
come to rest the buds strike root, while the 
fleshy leaf to which they adhere, supplies the 
little plant with water and nourishing material 
until it has its own roots in the soil (Fig. 19). 

Subterranean bulbs give rise to numerous bul- 
bils, which are in time separated from the parent 
bulbs, and so form new plants. These are par- 
ticularly common in Monocotyledons, but com- 


paratively rare in Dicotyledons. A British species 
of saxifrage, called Saxifraga granulata, from the 
numerous little bulbils it produces at the base of 
the stem, propagates itself by means of them. A 
double-flowered form of this plant is in cultiva- 
tion. Species of South African woodsorrels, or 
Oxalis, multiply in this way. A few bulbs of 
0. cernua, so called from the tall umbel of droop- 
ing yellow flowers, were sent to Malta in 1806. 
It never bears seeds, but since that date it has 
spread not only over Malta and Gozo, but through 
the traSic in orange plants and by other goods, 
it has established itself from Egypt to Morocco, 
and from Gibraltar to the Greek Islands ; being 
found in the Riviera, Naples, etc. 

Many water-plants propagate themselves in 
various ways by their vegetative systems. Thus, 
the duckweeds, which cover ponds, etc., in sum- 
mer, form little expansions or a " thallus," as 
botanists call it ; for there is no distinction be- 
tween stem and leaf. These in autumn become 
detached, and having their cells full of starch 
grains, they sink to the bottom, and there rest. 
When warm weather arrives the plants begin to 
grow. The starch grains* are used up and air fills 
the cells, so the plant rises to the surface and floats. 

A similar change takes place in the frog-bit 
(Fig. 20). Its long roots hang down in the water 
but do not reach the bottom. It throws out 
numerous runners on the surface, which bear little 
plants, like a strawberry plant. The surface of 
the water is soon covered with them, sometimes 
as many as twenty offsprings are strung together 
by the horizontal runner. 



Though the frog-bit bears flowers, these sel- 
dom seed. Autumn buds are subsequently pro- 
duced on shorter stems. These buds remain 
wrapped up in close fitting scale-leaves. As soon 
as it has laid up a sufficient amount of starch, 
etc., the bud becomes 
detached and sinks 
to the bottom ; when 
the floating plants all 

These winter rest- 
ing buds rise to the 
surface on the ap- 
proach of spring, just 
as the duckweed 
does on becoming 
filled with air. 

In the bladder- 
wort, a ^rather differ- 
ent procedure takes 
place. The leaves 
are always sub- 
merged, and, as is so 
often the case with 
dicotyledonous aqua- 
tic plants, finely dis- 
sected. The stem develops special buds for 
winter use, consisting of the abbreviated axes 
or ends of the shoots, with the leaves so crowded 
and folded together that they form a little com- 
pact green ball. This then sinks to the bottom to 
rise again in the following summer. This method 
of making a new plant out of the ends of the 
branches explains why this plant has no roots. 

Fig. 20. — Frog-bit. Floating male and 
female plants, with dependent roots 
and horizontal runners (cut off 
short). A male flower on left, and 
a single stamen on right ; female 
flower in middle. 


The pond weeds differ in that the buds detached 
in autumn sink to the bottom, but then strike 
root in the mud ; so that they grow up into well- 
rooted plants which can produce a stem long 
enough to reach the surface of the water. They 
also extend themselves by means of stolons, which 
creep along the bottom. 

Besides complete buds consisting of axis and bud- 
scales, single leaves can multiply plants. Many 
habitually do so. Thus there is a fleshy leaved 
plant of warm eastern countries, off which the 
leaves fall before decay, and if it be damp soil, 
roots soon appear at all the indentations on the 
margin. Then follow leaves and a complete new 
plant, so that a single leaf may be surrounded 
by a ring of plantlets. 

Several kinds of ferns habitually produce little 
plants on their surface or at the tips of the 

Gardeners take advantage of this property 
and so propagate plants, such as begonias and 
gloxinias, which readily lend themselves to this 
method of multiplication. 

There is one species of fern which grows on 
the bark of trees, the long tips of which avoid 
light and creep along the surface till they find 
a fissure in the bark, in which they become fixed. 
Every tip thus situated at once develops a bud at 
the point of contact. This bud gives rise to 
fronds, one of which develops vigorously and in 
turn searches for a new suitable crevice in which 
to insert itself ; and so the process is repeated 

Some British plants have acquired this habit 



of developing buds on the leaves, as the lady's 
smock, and the little bog-orchis, the watercress, 
celandine, cabbages, etc. 

Buds can also be formed on the scale-leaves of 
bulbs. This is the usual method of propagating 
hyacinths in Holland. The base of the bulb is 
scooped out or the bulb is slashed crosswise ; it is 
then stimulated by heat, and little bulbils soon 
appear along the cut edges of the scales. When 
large enough they are detached and grown. 
More than a hundred bulbils have thus been 
taken from a single bulb. 

These methods of multiplication by the vegeta- 
tive system are often in compensation for the want 
of propagation by seeds; or it would be more cor- 
rect to say that flowers surrender their function 
of reproduction to the vegetative system when 
this has been perpetually resorted to. It often 
happens .that this occurs not only in the wild 
state, but also under cultivation. Thus the lesser 
celandine, which habitually multiplies itself by 
means of its root-tubers underground, as well as 
by axillary corms, rarely sets seed. In fact, the 
pollen is not formed, but remains in an arrested 
condition. We have seen how Oxalis cernua has 
propagated itself all round the Mediterranean ; 
and is never known to set seed there. Similarly 
the frog-bit, which multiplies extensively by 
runners, also fails in this respect. 

The horse-radish which spreads largely under- 
ground, often blossoms, but no seed is ever 
made. The saffron crocus, formerly exten- 
sively cultivated, as at Saffron Walden in Essex, 
and possibly on Saffron Hill in London, failed 


to seed, being always multiplied by fresh 

The production of bulbs and corms at the 
expense of flowers, as in lilies and onions, crocus 
and horse-radish, is of course compensatory for 
the loss of the reproduction by the legitimate 
means of the flowers. Eut some interesting 
experiments with potatoes show that the power 
to produce them is a general one pervading the 
whole plant. For when potato-tubers are never 
allowed to be formed, being removed as soon as 
they begin to appear, then the " tuber-bearing 
energy," if we may so call this habitual ten- 
dency, finds vent above ground in developing 
tubers instead of elongated branches in the axils 
of the leaves. Of course an ordinary tuber is 
only an arrested subterranean branch, and swollen 
in diameter to store up reserve food-material for 
next season's growth. 

There yet remains another method, by means 
of which some plants can be multiplied, viz., by 
swollen internodes of the branches, when they 
have stored up sufficient food-stuffs. They then 
become disarticulated and fall to the ground, 
readily striking root, and so giving rise to new 
plants. There is, e.g., a fleshy stemmed ground- 
sell called Kleinia, of hot countries, and a vine 
which multiplies itself in this way. 



Changes in structure are sometimes compara- 
tively slow and slight when plants adapt them- 
selves to new environments, at others marked 
adaptations occur at once. They then resemble 
" sports," which appear suddenly, with no trace- 
able cause ; as can be seen, if a shoot of the 
water-crowfoot is crowded out of the water; 
when all the tissues in the air are at once 
adapted for living in it; while all below the 
surface are very different, but equally fitted for 
living submerged. 

We shall hereafter see how freaks occur in 
flowers, but they also are to be found among the 
vegetative organs of plants. 

Thus among branches there is the so-called 
" fastigiate " form, as of the erect-growing Lom- 
bardy poplar, the Irish yew, the common cypress, 
etc., in which, instead of being spread out hori- 
zontally, which is the normal or typical condition 
of their branches, these all run up vertically. 
When this is the case, a different disposition 
of- the leaves sometimes occurs. Thus, in the 
common yew, though the leaves are " inserted" 
on an imaginary spiral line, which can be drawn 
through their " points of insertion " successively 
round the stem, the leaves are all twisted at the 
base so as to make them lie in one and a hori- 
zontal plane. 

In the Irish yew (all plants of which have 



been derived from one plant still growing in 
Ireland), as well as on the short vertical shoots 
of the common yew, the leaves are not twisted, 
so that they bristle all round the shoot. 

In the common laurel, however, the leaves on 
the horizontally growing branches are actually 
inserted in two parallel ranks on opposite sides ; 
but on a vertically growing shoot, which may 
issue from the top of the bush, the leaves are in 
jive vertical ranks. 

Another sport among branches consists in their 
"weeping." It is not usually hereditary, but can 
be propagated by cuttings. Thus, all the weeping 
ashes in the kingdom are said to have been de- 
rived from one tree, but the seedlings show no 
tendency to weep. The weeping willow, if grow- 
ing away from water, often ceases to bear pen- 
dulous branches. The deodar cedar, a native of 
the Himalayas, does not bear drooping ends to 
its branches, but resembles the cedar of Lebanon 
in its native home. This habit of the former 
species has been acquired in the climate of 

With regard to leaves, one of the commonest 
forms of sports is the so-called cut-leaved type 
of foliage. Several trees have sported in this 
way, the branch being removed and struck can 
establish the sport. This type has been thus 
perpetuated in the beech, birch, maple, elder, 
blackberry, and many others. 

A curious result happened in grafting a sport 
of the cut-leaved beech upon a tree of the 
ordinary kind, in that all the shoots which 
subsequently appeared above the graft on the 


same side of the tree were affected by it, and 
bore this "laciniated" form of leaf (Fig. 21). 

Fig. 23. — Beech. Lowest branch on left, the original 
graft. All subsequent branches on left bore cut- 
leaved foliage (after Carrie're). 

A cut-leaved tree will not infrequently revert 
and bear a branch with the ordinary form of 


Thus two sorts of leaves are sometimes borne 
normally by a plant. E.g., the musk-mallow 
has both almost completely formed leaves, and 
much divided ones as well. There is a cultivated 
variety of this plant with white flowers, on 
which the leaves are much more deeply dis- 
sected. This comes true from seed. 

Under cultivation other changes may be 
hereditary. Thus, savoy cabbages and other 
plants, through excessive nutriment, develop 
too much tissue between the ribs or veins of 
the leaf, so that it will not lie flat but bulges 
upwards. On the other hand, the " dissections " 
of parsley have become so fine that it looks more 
like fennel. 

Reversions sometimes give the appearance of 
sports. Thus, acacias of Australia are usually 
devoid of the compound blade at the end of the 
flat phyllode. But now and then they suddenly 
reproduce them, giving a quite different appear- 
ance to the tree. 

Veronica cupressoides, a small Alpine plant of 
New Zealand, so-called because its minute, ad- 
pressed leaves resemble those of a cypress, under 
cultivation produces dissected leaves, which were 
undoubtedly an ancestral form (Fig. 22). A 
juniper will often bear two kinds of leaves, one 
like the cypress, another long and sharp-pointed. 
The latter is the ancestral form, and appears as 
the younger on a bush. 

Another cause of sporting is the dissociation 
of hybrid characters. Thus, when a Barberry 
was crossed with the genus Mahonia, the oval 
leaves, with a toothed margin of the former, 


appeared on the same shoot, with the spiny, 
holly-like leaves of the latter. 

A similar dissociation often occurs in flowers. 
Thus, a chrysanthemum not infrequently has 

Fig. 22. — Veronica cupressoides, illustrating different forms 
of foliage on the same plant (fr. Gard. Chroji.). 

the flowers sharply divided into two colours. 
Petunias are frequently striped white and pur- 
ple. This is because the two parents of all our 
garden petunias bore purple and white flowers 



Lastly, in fruits sports and dissociations occur. 
Thus the peach is a sport from the almond, and 
a nectary from the peach. A fruit of these 
two may be shared between them, one-half or 
other portion being of one kind, the rest of the 
other. And if the seeds be sown of either, it 
cannot be foretold what kind of fruit the tree will 
subsequently bear. 

This power of sporting, which is only a sudden 
and striking condition of variation, leads us to 
consider how one organ can not only change its 
form, but put on all the appearance, and assume 
the functions as well, of another. We may call 
this power of adaptation the " mutual accommoda- 
tion among plant organs " ; it also illustrates the 
meaning of the words "homology" and "analogy," 
which have been applied to plants. 

I will now give some account of this, and sum- 
marise instances in illustration of this curious 
practice among wild flowers. 

First, let us remember that plants are entirely 
composed of cells. These contain the so-called 
living matter or protoplasm, and though it is 
thus apparently isolated in each cell from its 
neighbours yet protoplasmic threads keep up a 
communication through the cell walls, which them- 
selves also probably contain it ; so that a plant 
is not quite built up of entirely independent cells, 
as was once supposed to be the case ; but is one 
whole living thing, of which any part can, how- 
ever, be separated and become an independent 
organism. Hence as this is true of those plants 
which are regarded as the highest of the vegetable 
kingdom, this as a whole stands no higher in the 


scale of life than, or is on a par with, corals and 
sponges in the animal kingdom. 

Besides this general power of a fragment re- 
producing the whole, as a necessary consequence 
almost any part or " organ " can, if required, take 
on the functions of some other organ, with or 
without undergoing much alteration of structure. 
This is what I have called " mutual accommoda- 
tion " among plant organs. 

All plant organs may be classified under the 
terms axes and appendages ; the former bring stem 
and root structures^ the latter, leaf structures, 
being appendages to stem structures. 

Homology asserts, first, that root and stem- 
axes are fundamentally the same ; and secondly, 
that all leaf -appendages are fundamentally the 
same thing. So that organs may be homologous 
though their forms and functions may be very 

Analogy is applied to organs of normally 
different natures, which, however, perform the 
same functions. Thus regarding a leaf as an 
appendage, it can become a tendril in the pea ; 
whereas the tendril of the vine is an axis, being 
homologous with a flowering stalk. 

I will now collect together some cases of inter- 
change of functions between roots and stems. 
As a rule roots being subterranean do not bear 
leaf-buds; i.e. a means of propagating the plant; 
but the raspberry, as we have seen, produces 
them in abundance. That stems can produce 
roots is familiar to everyone. Hence gardeners 
can propagate by cuttings, etc. Roots may be 
produced from the branches of trees, descend to 


the earth, and then act as supernumerary trunks, 
as in the banyan or Indian fig. One form of 
root is to be tuberous in order to store nutri- 
ment as in the peony and dahlia; tubers also 
appear on subterranean stems, as the potato. 
Stems often acquire the power of climbing as the 
hop, by twisting round some support. A species 
of Dissochceta utilises its aerial roots in the form of 
tendrils ; while the ivy has both subterranean 
and aerial roots, the latter being adapted for 
climbing only. 

Stems can imitate leaves, the use of the latter 
being to assimilate the carbonic acid gas absorbed 
from the atmosphere. Thus many plants have 
some of their branches flattened out imitating 
the blade of a leaf, as in the butcher's broom and 
other species of that genus. Some have no leaves 
at all, the stem being flattened, thick and fleshy, 
the green tissue of which is the sole assimilative 
structure of the plant as of the prickly-pear. 

Stipules which are basilar adjuncts to a leaf 
and really beloug to it, assume various forms 
and functions. They may be leaf-like as in the 
pea ; spinescent as in acacias ; as a tendril in 
Smilax ) or as bud-scales in the lime, elm, oak, etc. 

Regarding a leaf as the type of all appendages, 
we may recognise the following modifications of 
the two parts — stalk or petiole, and the blade or 

The leafstalk or petiole may assume any of the 
following characters : — It may be foliaceous and 
therefore assimilative as in the phyllodes of 
acacias; it may be spinescent as in Astragalus; 
it may be sheathing and thereby mechanically 


strengthening the petiole, while protecting the 
bud in the axil. It may become a climbing 
structure and sensitive to touch as of a Clematis, 
or a store-house of nutriment as the scales of 
bulbs of lilies, etc. 

The blade may be altered, as seen in the ten- 
drils of the pea ; in the insectivorous structures 
of pitcher plants ; in the development of buds 
for propagative purposes, as in the lady's smock, 

Bracts form a transition from vegetative organs 
to the reproductive, being assimilated to leaves 
when they are green and to the flowers when 
they are coloured or "petaloid" in character. 

The homology of bracts is various. They may 
be stipular as in Magnolias, more generally are 
they petiolar as in Hellebore, which affords a com- 
pletely graduated series from the true pedate leaf 
to an oval acute bract, by the gradual suppression 
of the segments, and a dilatation coupled with 
a shortening of the petiole. 

In buttercups and geraniums, bracts are 
homologous with the blade, the petiole being 

Petaloid bracts may be grouped conveniently 
under three heads. (1) Assisting in the colori- 
sation of the inflorescence. (2) A number of 
bracts may together mimic a flower, the true floral 
perianth being insignificant. Lastly (3) bracts 
may pass by insensible graduation into the true 
floral whorls, there being no break between true 
bracts and true petals. Euphorbias are good ex- 
amples of the first; Danvinia, Cornus, 1 and " Ever* 
1 See Index for illustrations. 



lastings" well illustrate the second class; while 
Cactuses are types of the third. 

Inflorescences consist of the flower stalks or 
Peduncle, with smaller branches carrying the 
flowers, called the Pedicels. These may undergo 
changes of form and assume other functions than 
carrying flowers. Thus they may become climb- 
ing organs, as the tendrils of the vine, passion 
flower, and Virginia creeper; they may become 
" hook-climbers" as in Uncaria (Fig. 14), in 
which the peduncle curls round after flowering. 
They may be reservoirs of nutriment to nourish 
the fruit and seeds. Such are the thick recep- 
tacles of some composites, as of the artichoke, 
the pseudocarp of the strawberry, apple, etc. 

All the above mentioned instances and many 
more might be given would have been called 
sports, "imitative sports," perhaps, had they 
occurred suddenly. But since they are now con- 
stant features in the plants possessing them, they 
cannot be classified as such, though possibly 
originating in the same way. 



The old distinction between plants and animals, 
that the latter can move and the former cannot, 
has long since been abandoned as untrue to 
nature ; but that all plants, even when perman- 


ently fixed to the soil, have their stems, leaves, 
flower-stalks, etc., in almost perpetual motion, is 
a discovery of recent times, and notably due to 
the investigations of Darwin. 

The majority of the movements can be embraced 
under the single term circumnutation, and its 
modifications ; it signifies " bowing around." The 
stem or other organ bends to all points of the 
compass successively with a sort of rolling action, 
so that the side which is uppermost in any direc- 
tion becomes the lowermost when it points in the 
opposite one. The circles or ellipses thus de- 
scribed by the apex of the moving organ are 
most perfectly seen in the stems of climbers ; 
other organs for the most part move more irre- 
gularly ; consequently when they are represented 
by diagrams they show most complicated figures. 
Darwin illustrated a great many of these "pro- 
jections." 1 

We have already had occasion to discuss the 
peculiar movements of radicles and plumules of 
germinating seeds ; and we saw how Darwin 
proved that the former will turn away from 
mechanical obstructions which irritate the tip 
by pressure. He also discovered that stolons 
and runners, which consist of much elongated 
flexible branches, which run along the surface 
of the ground and form roots at the joints, are 
similarly able to pass over obstacles by circum- 
nutation, and so manage to wind about between 
the stems of surrounding plants. Erect stems 
continually circumnutate. In the case of climbers 

1 See his work entitled "The Power of Movement in 


or stem-twiners, to be described in the next 
chapter, the circumnutation is most perfect, 
so that if any erect object stands within the 
circle the twiner on touching it must necessarily 
twine up it ; as can be readily seen by using a 
piece of string fixed below, and imitating the 

a be 

Fig. 23. — Subterranean clover; a. flowerhead after having been buried 
and ripened its seeds (one in each pod) ; b. abortive flowers, closely 
adpressed, before penetrating the soil ; c. abortive flower with claw- 
like sepals spread out for raising the soil. 

bowing stem by moving the upper end in a 
circular manner. Flower stems form no excep- 
tion to axial structures circumnutating ; but the 
effect is curiously modified by gravity in the case 
of the " subterranean clover," and by turning 
away from light in the cyclamen. In both 
plants the object in view is to bury the unripe 
pods beneath the soil. 


The flower-buds of the first-named (Fig. 23) 
produce but two or few perfect flowers at the 
base of the head, all the others consisting only of 
cylindrical calyces with stiff spreading lobes, 
forming claw-like projections. As soon as the 
perfect flowers wither, they bend back upon the 
peduncles. While these are thus moving the 
whole peduncle curves downwards and increases 
in length, even from 6 to 9 inches if necessary, 
until the flower-head reaches the ground. At 
this period the younger, imperfect central flowers 
are still pressed closely together (6), and form a 
rather rigid conical projection. It then buries 
itself to a depth of *25 inch. After the 
heads are buried, the central aborted flow r ers 
increase considerably in length and rigidity. 
They gradually curve, one after another, upwards 
or towards the peduncle. In thus moving, the 
long claws on their summits carry with them 
some earth ; hence a flower-head which has been 
buried for a sufficient time forms a rather large 
ball, the aborted flowers, having caught up the 
earth with the claw-like sepal-lobes (c), act some- 
what like the claws of a mole, which force the 
earth backwards and the body forwards. 

The calyces of the perfect flowers are provided 
with hairs, which, on absorbing carbonate of 
ammonia presented to them, exhibited all the 
evidences of being thereby nourished ; hence 
this seems to be Nature's use for the hairs ; as 
Darwin found that only those pods which bury 
themselves, produce a full complement of seeds. 

Movements in flowers may be slow or rapid ; 
an illustration of the latter may be seen in the 



petals of the genista, a pea-like blossom which, 
when an insect alights on the front petals in 
which are concealed the stamens and pistil, the 

flower explodes in con- 
sequence of the " claws" 
or stalks of the petals 
being in a state of 
tension ; so that they 
suddenly drop down 
while the stamens rise 
up (Fig. 24). 

In the species of 
medick, such as the 
common lucerne, the 
flower explodes, ap- 
parently in a similar 
manner to that of the 
genista. But the ex- 
plosion is effected by 
means of the stamens 
and not the corolla. They 
are at first horizontal, 
being concealed within 
the keel petals (Fig. 25, 
a 9 front view). When 
an insect has aliehted in 

ing curvature at the base and r , f ^ ™»tal«s rlrnr* 
contraction higher up where ironD, me peLdlS urop 
the petals cohere, causing them down by their OWn 

t0dl0p ' weight front view); 

while the staminal tube curves upwards with 
great force (c, side view, petals removed) and 
cannot be replaced without fracture. 

In several flowers of different species the fila- 
ments retire slowly after the anthers have shed 

Fig. 24. — Genista, a. flower ex- 
panded, side view; b. front 
view after "explosion"; c. 
'claws" of keel petals show 


the pollen, or fallen off, when the pistil comes 
forward, and occupies the same position. This 
may be noticed in the lemon-scented or oak- 
leaved pelargoniums, and in our wild wood-sage 
and bugloss. 

Enough has now been said to show how ex- 
tensive and varied are the movements effected 
by the different organs 
of plants, and the advan- 
tages accruing to them 
by possessing such 
powers of motion. 

In the preceding cases 
the movements are more 
or less perceptible after 
the organ has been 
fully constructed. But 
growth under external 
influences gives very 
similar results. Thus FlG - 25 7 Lucerne < for description 

see text;. 

roots, as we have seen 

in the case of radicles of germinating seeds, are 
very sensitive to moisture, which explains many 
curious instances of root growth. 

Roots of trees have been found growing to great 
distances to reach water, even diving under a hard 
road to a ditch on the opposite side. 

The attraction of warmth has a peculiar influ- 
ence on stems and leaves. 

If the temperature of the ground be higher 
than that of the air above it, shoots will grow 
flat upon the ground and become creeping stems. 
This accounts for so many high Alpine plants 
being prostrate, and never tall and erect. The 


creeping willows, so common there, illustrate 
this fact. 

Similarly leaves of blue-bells in early spring, as 
well as of plantains and daisies on lawns, lie flat on 
the ground, but they grow erect among long grass 
by road sides. 

It may be noticed how even usually tall plants, 
like the common mallow, which grows erect when 
in the midst of other plants, if the seed happens 
to fall by the roadside, will give rise to a prostrate 

Plants grow upwards under the influence of 
light, and if the source of illumination be lateral, 
they grow and bend in the direction of it. 

Roots, on the other hand, grow away from 
light, or towards the darker side. This may 
easily be seen, as stated elsewhere, in the climb- 
ing roots of ivy, etc. But other organs may do 
so, if necessary, thus the tendrils of the Virginia 
creeper being adapted to climb a rough wall, turn 
towards it, being, of course, away from the illumin- 
ated side. 

The sleeping movements of leaves take place 
when they are quite full-grown, but when buds 
expand in spring, the leaves grow in various 
directions to secure the same end as in sleep ; 
namely, the avoidance of injury by radiation of 
heat, as long as they are young and unformed. 
Subsequently they assume a permanent hori- 
zontal position when mature. 

If leaves grow in pairs they stand erect and 
face one another, having their upper surfaces in 
contact. This may be seen in veronicas, St 
John's Wort, and periwinkle. 


If leaves be alternate, as of the Portugal 
laurel, they may be erect, but now each leaf 
is folded like a sheet of notepaper 
or " conduplicate " (i.e. " folded to- 
gether ") (Fig. 26). If it be pendu- 
lous a more complicated process may 
take place. In the case of the lime, 
as soon as the bud expands and 
escapes from the winter (stipular) 
scales, the inner stipules develop 
considerably; those on the upper side FlG> 2c— Portu- 
are concave and ovoid, aod cover the gj| teu ^ 
upturned edges of the leaves, which duplicate m 
at once take a position in a vertical blld - 
plane ; the stipules at the sides elongate much 
more than the former, furnishing some lateral 
protection to the whole bud, which now curves 
rapidly downwards. As the bud continues to de- 


a b c 

Fig. 27. — Lime ; buds unfolding. 

velop, the branch becomes more and more strongly 
curved downwards, so that the leaves are held 
vertically ; but as the lower and older ones in- 
crease in size, they assume a horizontal position, 
and undertake to protect the younger ones which 
are concealed beneath them. Thus the protecting 
care is handed on to each leaf as it arrives at 
maturity, until the whole series are developed, 



and the branch and leaves become horizontal 
(Fig. 27, a, b, c). 

Compound leaves behave in a similar manner. 
Thus in a rose or laburnum leaf the leaflets are 
at first both pendulous and conduplicate, as well 
as tightly pressed together ; they then expand in 
order from below upwards. In the 
walnut (Fig. 28), the petiole curves 
strongly downwards at a very early 
stage, thus placing the pairs of con- 
duplicate leaflets in a vertical plane. 
As they increase in size the basal 
pair is the first to become spread out, then the 
others in succession as the petiole rises into a 
horizontal position. In the ash leaf, which some- 
what resembles the walnut, the petiole curves 
upwards instead of downwards, but the leaflets 
are in a vertical plane all the same. 

The horse-chesnut has a " digitate" leaf of 
several radiating leaflets (Fig. 29). As soon as 
it issues from a bud all the leaflets curve down- 
wards, exactly in the same manner 
in which some lupins go to sleep. , 
They subsequently rise up and be- 
come horizontal. The Virginia 
creeper when growing close to a 
wall develops the leaflets like a 
vertical star, as other species of lupin fig. 29. -Horse- 
when asleep ; but if it grow over a chesnut leaf - 
trellis, it not only climbs like a vine with its 
tendrils (no longer in adaptation to a wall with 
adhesive disks), but its young leaflets all drop 
vertically as in the horse-chesnut, resembling a 


A clover leaf has its petiole at first arched, 
with the three conduplicate leaflets closely ad- 
pressed together, so that they hang vertically. 
This arrangement is exactly the same in the 
wood-sorrel when very young (Fig. 30, a) ; but in 
these plants the position of the 

leaflets in sleep is very different. 

I have spoken of the move- 
ments undergone during the growth 
of leaves in spring, in order to 

avoid the chance of injury from a b 
frost and radiation ; but this is Fig. 30.— wood- 
also effected in many plants by soire - 
the process of sleep, as it is called, of leaves 
when full grown. It is particularly well seen 
in the compound leaves of the Leguminous or 
Pea family ; though it is by no means confined 
to it. Darwin has written an elaborate treatise 
on the subject of Nyctitropism, i.e. the "night- 
turning " of leaves in sleep, to which the reader 
is referred should he desire to study the 
peculiarities of the process in detail. 1 

I propose giving a few instances of plants 
which are easily observed. If a clover plant or 
one of the common medicks be observed on any 
fine day, all the leaves will be seen having their 
•three leaflets spread out horizontally. At sun- 
down, it will be noticed that they are closely 
packed together. In order to acquire this position 
the two basal leaflets rotate on their short stalks 
till they stand in a vertical plane. They then 
swing round till their upper surfaces come into 
contact. Lastly, the terminal leaflet rotates 
1 " The Movements of Plants." 


upwards, passes through an entire semicircle, 
and comes down like a sloping roof over the 
upper edges of the lower pair of leaflets (Fig. 31,6). 
This position, it will be noticed, is a very 
different one from that in which the conduplicate 
leaflets were all pressed to- 
gether in the earliest condition, 
ity like that of the wood-sorrel 
II (Fig. 30,a). 

& The object is to protect the 

ver - upper surfaces, which in the 
clover are entirely concealed, as well as to place 
the surfaces of the leaflets in a vertical position, 
if possible. 

The trifoliate leaf of the wood-sorrel resembles 
that of a clover, but it prepares itself for sleep 
in a different manner ; for the three leaflets 
drop down and slightly fold the two halves, 
so that the mid-ribs touch the petiole. The 
upper surfaces are not protected at all, but 
now stand in a vertical position (Fig. 30 J, trans, 

The melilot agrees with the clover in having 
three leaflets, but it sleeps in yet another way. 
The three leaflets twist through an angle of 90°, 
so that they all stand vertically at night. The 
two basal leaflets then move towards the terminal 
one. This, in turn, bends towards one side, and 
invariably to the side towards which its upper 
surface lies, until it presses against its neighbour 
on that side. 

The seat of the movements resides in the swollen 
base of the petiole called the " pulvinus." This 
retains its tissue in an elementary condition, and 


so remains pliable and not rigid, as it would be 
if the woody tissue were fully developed. 

Lupins have " digitate " leaves, being composed 
of several radiating leaflets, like those of the 
horse-chesnut. After having been spread out 
horizontally by day, they go to sleep in at least 
three different ways in as many species. 
In one the leaflets all drop vertically 
down like a shuttlecock, the leaves partly 
covering one another (Fig. 32). In 
another they are reversed, like a shuttle- fig. 32.— 
cock standing on the cork head. In a Ln P in - 
third, while the lower leaflets fall down the 
upper become erect, so the whole leaf stands like 
a vertical star, all the leaflets being in the same 

There are many kinds of leguminous plants 
which have pinnate leaves of two rows of leaflets. 
In some they all drop down, and each pair has 
the leaflets pressed together ; in others they are 
all elevated ; the same result, of course, is gained 
either way. In the logwood tree, the leaflets, 
while placing themselves vertically, lie with their 
mid-ribs parallel to the main petiole. Yet another 
plan is adopted in Cassias which also has pinnate 
leaves. It is the little leaflets of certain species 
which is senna. In this, the petiole rises up and 
stands at an acute angle with the stem. Thus 
by the leaf dropping vertically, all its leaflets 
more or less overlap one another, the terminal 
being the larger envelope the lower ones, the 
whole forming a sort of bunch. 

Darwin records an interesting fact about the 
sleeping of the common garden nasturtium. This 


has peltate leaves, and usually makes them stand 
as nearly as possible at right angles to incident 
light. At night the circular blade is placed 
vertically ; but, if any leaves have not been well 
illuminated by day they do not sleep at night. 
He says he observed no case, so well marked as 
this, of the influence of previous illumination on 
subsequent sleep. 

It is hoped that the reader will take every 
opportunity of noticing the various methods by 
which plants go to sleep ; but in every case the 
object is to place the blades in a vertical plane 
and protect, if possible, the upper surfaces 



One of the most interesting books of Darwin's 
is his ' 1 Climbing Plants," in which he describes 
a great number of instances, to which I will refer 
the reader for details. The feature I now wish 
to dwell upon is the admirable way in which this 
power of climbing illustrates the diversity of 
methods adopted for one and the same end, 
whenever it is preferable to use one means rather 
than another for the purpose. 

Climbing plants may be grouped as follows : — 
(1) Those which climb by their stems or twiners, 
as they are called. (2) Leaf-climbers, and these 
may climb by their petioles or leaf-stalks ; by 
their leaf-apices running out into a sensitive 


tendril ; or by the mid-ribs modified as tendrils 
without any true blade being developed at all. 
(3) By peduncles or flower-stalks. (4) By means 
of hooks ; these being a reduced form of a branch, 
spiny or not, or as superficial thorns, as of the 
bramble and Eattan-cane palms. Lastly (5), 
the climbing process may be effected by adhesive 
roots, as in tropical epiphytal orchids and our 
own ivy. 

As an illustration of a stem-climber I will take 
Darwin's description of the hop. He says that 
when the shoot rises from the ground, the two or 
three first-formed internodes are straight, and re- 
main stationary ; but the next formed, while very 
young, may be seen to bend to one side, and to 
travel slowly round towards all points of the com- 
pass, moving, like the hands of a watch, with the 
sun. The average rate was 2 h. 8 m. for each re- 
volution. Each separate internode, as it grows 
old, ceases to revolve, becoming upright and rigid 
generally. These internodes revolve simultane- 
ously ; with all the plants which he observed, if in 
full health, two internodes revolved ; so that by 
the time one had ceased, that above it was in full 
action, with a terminal internode first commenc- 
ing to revolve. The purpose of this spontaneous 
revolving motion or circumnutation, i.e. a continu- 
ous bending movement successively to all points 
of the compass, is obviously in part to favour the 
shoot in finding a support ; but when this is 
gained, the motion at the point of contact is 
arrested ; while the free part projecting above 
continues to revolve, and by the very motion 
cannot fail to twine itself round the support. 


Darwin tells us that of thirty-nine plants ex- 
amined by him, twenty-five revolved in a course 
opposed to, and twelve, with the sun ; two revolved 
both with and against the sun. No instance is 
known of two species of the same genus twining 
in opposite directions. 

The average rate at which the first circle of 
revolution is described, is about 6 h. 10 m., com- 
puted from thirty-five different plants ; the longest 
period being 26 h. 15 m., while the most rapid 
was 1 h. 17 m. The average rate of twining 
plants is 5 h. 45 m., for five revolutions. It must 
be borne in mind that young shoots commence 
slowly, and do not arrive at a maximum time of 
rotation until they have accomplished several 
circles or ellipses, as the case may be. 

Light has a remarkable power in hastening the 
revolutions. Thus, Ipomcea jucunda performed 
its first circle in 5 h. 30 m. ; the semi-circle from 
light, in 4 h. 30 min., and that to light in 1 h. 
30 m. ; the difference being 3 h. 30 m. It must 
be observed, however, that the rate of revolution, 
in all plants was nearly uniform during night as 
well as day ; hence Darwin iufers the action of 
the light to be confined to retarding one semi- 
circle and accelerating the other; so that the 
whole rate is not greatly modified. 

Heat likewise affects the rapidity of revolution, 
by increasing it ; thus, e.g., a plant of a species 
of Loasa, which moved against the sun, completed 
its first circle in 2 h. 37 m. Another plant which 
followed the sun completed its circle in 1 h. 51 m. 
and its fourth circle in 1 h. 48 m., that being a 
very hot day in July; whereas its fifth circle, on 



the cool morning of July 12th was finished in 
2 h. 35 m. 

Darwin describes a peculiar instance of a nat- 
ural reversal of movement in Hibbertia dentata. 
He found that, although its long flexible shoots 
were evidently well fitted for twining, yet they 
would make a whole, or half, or quarter circle in 
one direction, and three in the opposite one. He 
could not at first discover for what purpose was 
this adaptation, until after offering the plant 
various arrangements of sticks and twigs, etc., he 
surrounded it with several thin upright sticks ; 
and now the Hibbertia, he says, had got what it 
liked, for it twined up the parallel sticks, some- 
times winding round one and sometimes round 
several. Though the revolving movement was 
sometimes in one direction and sometimes in 
another, the twining was invariably from left to 
right. It would appear that this Hibbertia is 
adapted to ascend by twining and rambling later- 
ally over the thick Australian scrub. 

We will now theorise a little as to the original 
cause of the twining of stems. 

As the evolutionary history of wild flowers and 
their organs, is what I wish to keep in view 
throughout this book, let us try to discover first, 
how stems, such as of our bindweeds, hop and 
honeysuckle have acquired this property of 

It is a well known fact that plants growing in 
shade get " drawn," because the stems are not in- 
fluenced by the retarding effect of light, which 
acts especially upon the superficial tissues. The 
interior tissues on the contrary tend to elongate, 


consequently there is a constant struggle between 
the outer, " cortical " layers and the " central 
cylinder" of a stem. To illustrate this fact, if 
a ring of the outer layers be cut off from a 
herbaceous stem or thick leaf-stalk as of rhubarb, 
the interior column at once begins to elongate as 
soon as the tension is removed. 

Now, if seeds of plants accustomed to grow in 
full sunshine find themselves in deep shade, they 
germinate and grow up with long, weak stems ; 
the majority very possibly die. Some, however, 
may be able to resist the want of full light. The 
stems are "drawn" towards the light, some may 
reach it, blossom and set seed. These seeds re- 
produce the adaptations of their parents by living 
in the same conditions. " Circumnutation " or 
"bowing around," a common property of all 
shoots, adds another adaptation, for it increases 
with- the length of the internodes. The stem thus 
coils round any support it may happen to touch. 

In support of the probability of this theory 
being true, is the fact that many species of plants 
which normally live in full sun-light and do 
not climb at all, have allied species in adjacent 
forests which do so. Thus Fuchsia integrifolia 
occurs in the mountain forests of Brazil, where it 
climbs to a height of 10 feet, the stem acquires a 
thickness of one's arm. Outside the forests of 
the same region, there are plants of this species 
on rocky places which form bushes of a man's 
height. So too, all the species of fuchsia with 
which we are familiar in cultivation,' are bushes 
and never climb. 

It is the same with Convolvulus. In the desert of 


Africa the species of this genus form low, woody, 
gnarled-stemmed little plants ; but in our cornfields 
the lesser bind-weed climbs up the wheat-stalks, 
Conversely, when growing on a sunny bank, it at 
once assumes the habit of a creeping plant. 

Climbing plants may hold the power in abey- 
ance. Thus the dwarf French bean and garden 
nasturtium, as a rule, make no attempt at climb- 
ing ; yet one or more plants in a row will revert 
to the habit. A remarkable instance of this is a 
large bush or small tree known to botanists as 
Hijptage Metablota, of tropical Asia. There sud- 
denly appears a long slender shoot out of a thick 
branch which climbs up any neighbouring plant, 
as a bamboo, etc. This tree belongs to a family 
which is characterised by containing many climb- 
ing plants ; so that it had abandoned its climbing 
property for its main stem, but still retains it 
"potentially" in the boughs. Darwin, in con- 
cluding his remarks upon twiners adds a few 
peculiar cases somewhat like those I have here 
given. Thus, Combretum argenteum produces two 
kinds of shoots, several of the first-formed showed 
no tendency to climb until one appeared from the 
lower part of one of the main branches, five or 
six feet in length, differing greatly in appearance, 
from its leaves being little developed, it revolved 
vigorously and twined. The genus is mostly 
a climbing one ; so this particular species, like 
the Hiptage, retained it partially in abeyance. 
Lastly, Darwin gives a still more remarkable in- 
stance of Ipomcea argyrceoides, which in S. Africa, 
almost always grows erect and compact, from 
twelve to eighteen inches; whereas seedlings 


raised at Dublin, twined up sticks eight feet high. 
These facts, says Darwin, are highly remarkable, 
for there can hardly be a doubt that in the dryer 
and sunnier provinces of S. Africa, these plants 
must have propagated themselves for thousands 
of generations in an erect condition; and yet 
during this whole period they have retained the 
innate power of spontaneously revolving and 
twining, whenever their shoots elongated under 
proper conditions of life required for climbing. 

That shade has been the primary cause is sug- 
gested by the fact that if a shoot, as of a potato 
in the dark, elongate, the leaves are undeveloped 
and more or less reduced to scales. So is it 
with tropical climbers called Lianes, and as was 
the case with the twining shoots of the Combretum 
observed by Darwin, mentioned above. 

Further remarks on the peculiarities of woody 
tropical climbers will be reserved for the second 
volume of "The Story of Wild Flowers." 

That shade has been the primary cause of the 
origin of stem-climbers or twining plants has been 
proved experimentally ; for when plants of buck- 
wheat were grown in the dark from seed, their 
stems showed similar torsions to those of ordin- 
ary climbers, and twisted round neighbouring 

I will now give one of Darwin's careful descrip- 
tions of a leaf -climber ; as it well illustrates the 
power of putting on extra woody tissue, to meet 
the strain felt as soon as it begins to help to sup- 
port the plant. The plant referred to, is Solarium 
jasminoides, not infrequently grown in conserva- 
tories, etc. Some members of the genus are 


stem-twiners, but this one is a true leaf-climber. 
The potato and many other species of Solarium 
show no tendency to climb. 

A long shoot made four revolutions against the 
sun, very regularly at an average rate of 3 h. 
26 m. In no other leaf-climber was a leaf 
grown to its full size capable of clasping a stick, 
though it took several weeks to do it. When 
a petiole of a half-grown leaf had clasped a 
support, in three or four days it increased in 
thickness, and after several weeks became hard 
and rigid. On comparing a thin, transverse slice 
of this petiole with one from the older leaf be- 
neath, which had not clasped anything, its dia- 
meter was found to be doubled, and its structure 
greatly changed ; for in the petiole, in its ordinary 
state, there is seen a semilunar band of cellular 
tissue, slightly different from that outside it, 
and including three closely approximate groups 
of dark vessels. Near the upper surface of the 
petioles, beneath the two ridges, there are two 
other small circular groups of vessels. But in the 
section of the petiole, which had during several 
weeks clasped a stick, the two upper ridges be- 
came much less prominent, and the two groups 
of woody vessels beneath them much increased in 
diameter. The semilunar band was converted 
into a complete ring of very hard, white, woody 
tissue, with lines radiating from the centre. The 
three groups of vessels, which, though closely 
approximate, were before distinct, where now 
completely blended together. The part of the new 
ring of woody vessels formed by the prolonga- 
tion of the horns of the original semilunar band 


was thinner than the lower part, and slightly 
different in appearance, from being less compact. 
The clasped petiole had actually become thicker 
than the stem close beneath it; and this was 
chiefly due to the greater thickness of the ring of 
wood, which presented, both in transverse and 
longitudinal sections, a closely similar structure 
in the petiole and axis. 

As a more familiar instance of a leaf-climber, 
and one which can readily be observed in many 
parts of England, is the traveller's joy. 1 The 
leaf consists of two pairs and one terminal leaflet. 
The petioles are all very sensitive to touch, and 
are easily excited to bend in response to a very 
slight pressure ; so that they will even coil round 
a blade of grass. If they catch hold of a twig in 
growing over a hedge, they soon coil firmly round 
it. Had they not done so the leaves would fall off 
in winter ; but if the petioles have coiled round 
a shoot, they remain permanently attached to it. 

An allied genus of S. Asia and the Indian 
Archipelago 2 differs from the clematis in having 
leaves and perfect tendrils ; but a British wild 
flower, the climbing corydal 3 also shows us 
how one is derived from the other ; for the first 
formed leaves of this plant are not modified at 
all. The next has the terminal leaflets smaller. 
The leaves contain several groups of leaflets, vary- 
ing from five to three in a group; but now the 
end ones are very much diminished in size, till 
there is nothing left but the mid-rib, which then 
forms a true tendril. 

1 Clematis Vitalba. 
3 Corydalis claviculata 

2 Naravelia. 



We will now consider a case where the tendril 
is composed, not of a leaf, but of a metamor- 
phosed flowering branch. The American Virginian 
creeper 1 is admirably described by Darwin, and it 
is so common that everyone must be familiar with 
its tendrils adhering by adhesive disks to a wall. 
But it will be noticed that if a plant climbs up a 
wire-work trellis, it climbs like other tendrils by 
twisting round the wire ; so that it can adopt 
both methods according to circumstances. The 
tendrils end at first with little hooks, and it 
is not until these have caught the irregularities 
of a wall that the disks are developed. 

In the Japanese species, 2 however, it will be 
seen that the disks appear on the tendrils before 
any contact has taken place, showing that the 
disks, though originally the result of a merely 
mechanical pressure, have become hereditary in 
this species. This is not a sole instance, for 
similar disks are formed on contact, 3 or are 
hereditary 4 in plants of quite different orders. 

The vine, being so easily observable, may be 
also described. Like the tendrils of the Vir- 
ginia creeper and passion flower, that of the vine 
is a metamorphosed flowering branch. It is of 
great size and thickness, bearing two branches, 
which diverge equally from it like the letter Y. 
One branch has a scale at the base, and is the longer 
and often forked. After a tendril has clasped 
any object it contracts spirally. The two branches 
of the tendril can readilv be compared with the 

1 Ampelopsis hederacea. 2 A. Veitchii. 

3 See Darwin's "Climbing Plants," p. 102, Note. 

4 Op. cit., p. 146, Note. 


flowering shoot, one branch still remaining as a 
tendril, the other now branches again, and carries 
the flower buds. 

The peduncle increases in length, and loses its 
sensitiveness in an inverse degree to the number of 
flower-buds. Thus the fewer there are the greater 
the length of the peduncle, and the more nearly 
does it assume the character of a tendril. 

Similarly the "flower-tendril" occasionally 
bears flowers, and then in this state it retains its 
characteristic qualities of sensitiveness and spon- 
taneous movement, but in a somewhat lessened 
degree. In fact, a perfect gradation may be 
seen from the ordinary state of a " flower- 
peduncle " to that of a true tendril. 

The reader should search over a vine plant, 
and he will soon find all sorts of intermediate 
conditions between tendrils and flowering 

In the passion flower the tendril assumes a 
totally different form, precisely imitating that of 
our common bryony. The special feature in 
both is the curious adaptation to resist a break- 
ing strain. As the tropical woody climbers, or 
lianas, exhibit various methods to secure the 
same end, I will reserve any remarks till I have 
to treat of tropical plants in the next volume on 
"The Story of Wild Flowers." 



There are many plants of very different families 
which have acquired the property of catching 
insects and digesting the nitrogenous matters of 
their bodies. According to Dr F. Darwin's ex- 
periments with the sundew, it would appear that 
the chief advantage to such plants is to enhance 
the reproductive process, and to increase the 
quantity of seed. 

We shall see that this "end" is identical with 
that of parasitism ; for parasitic plants, by graft- 
ing themselves on " hosts," are enabled to absorb 
nutritious fluids and already prepared food ; so 
that requiring no expenditure of "vegetative" 
energy, they at once proceed to make flowers and 
fruit with a prodigious quantity of seed. 

British insectivorous plants consist of three 
species of sundew, representing one family ; four 
species of butterwort, together with five of bladder- 
wort, which make another family. There is also 
a continental plant, to which I wish to refer on 
the present occasion, as it involves features from 
both these two families. I shall reserve some 
very remarkabla instances of foreign insec- 
tivorous plants for the second volume. 

The family to which the sundew belongs con- 
tains six genera, all being insectivorous, but in 
remarkably different ways. The sundew itself 
has 100 species scattered pretty well all over the 
globe, being most frequent in Australia. 



Three genera have but one species each. One, 
to which I shall refer, occurs in middle and South 
Europe, and extends as far as India, and is also 
found in Queensland. It is called Aldrovandra. 
There is one in South Africa ; one in Florida, the 
so-called Venus' fly-trap, 
which I propose describ- 
ing; a fourth is found in 
Spain, and the fifth in 
Australia, where the sun- 
dew, or Drosera, has its 
chief home. 

Our sundews (Fig. 33) 
are little plants growing in 
wet places among bog-moss. 
They have very imperfect 
roots, bat the failure to 
secure much nourishment 
by them, is compensated 
for by the facility with 
which they can catch 
nutritive insects. 
fig. 33.— sundew; with com- l n the round-leaved sun 

plete flower on right : sta- n . ■• 

mens and pistil on left; dew, the commonest species, 
pistil, above. tne bl a( Je is circular, and 

provided with " tentacles," as Darwin called them. 
These consist of cellular structures, being short 
on the middle of the leaf, but .they get longer 
and longer towards the circumference, where they 
spread out horizontally. Each carries a club- 
shaped or globular extremity. The inner tentacles 
are green but the outer purple, the cells being 
filled with a coloured fluid ; the terminal glands 
of the tentacles constantly secrete a large drop 


of gummy fluid, which has given the name 
sundew to the plant. 

Whether insects are attracted, or accidentally 
come in contact with the gum and stick there, is 
not quite clear ; but as many as thirteen dead 
insects, more especially flies, have been found on 
a single leaf. Even a dragon-fly has been seen, 
caught between two leaves. 

With regard to the action of the tentacles, I 
cannot do better than give Darwin's own words. 
He tells us that if a small organic or inorganic 
object be placed on the glands in the centre of a 
leaf, these transmit a motor impulse to the 
marginal tentacles. The nearer ones are affected 
and slowly bend towards the centre, and then 
those farther off, until at last all become closely 
inflected over the object. This takes place in 
from one hour to four or five or more hours. The 
difference in the time required depends on many 
circumstances ; namely, on the size of the object 
and on its nature ; that is, whether it contains 
soluble matter of the proper kind ; on the vigour 
and age of the leaf ; whether it has lately been in 
action ; and on the temperature of the day. A 
living insect is a more efficient object than a dead 
one, as in struggling it presses against the glands 
of many tentacles. An insect, such as a fly, 
with thin integuments, through which animal 
matter in solution can readily pass into the sur- 
rounding dense secretion, is more efficient in caus- 
ing prolonged inflection than an insect with a 
thick coat, such as a beetle. The inflection of 
the tentacles takes place indifferently in the 
light and darkness, and the plant is not sub- 


ject to any nocturnal movement of so-called 

If the glands on the disc are repeatedly touched 
or brushed, although no object is left on them, 
the marginal tentacles curve inwards. So again, 
if drops of various fluids, as of a solution of any 
salt of ammonia, are placed on the central glands, 
the same result quickly follows, sometimes within 

The longer and outermost tentacles curve in- 
wards by bending at a point about one-third from 
the base. If it be simply touched three or four 
times, or a prolonged contact with organic or 
inorganic objects and various fluids, it will 
incurve itself even within one minute. If an 
object, such as a bit of meat or an insect, is 
placed on the central part of a leaf, the surround- 
ing tentacles will become inflected, and their 
glands will pour forth an increased amount of 
secretion. In fact, the central glands, when 
strongly excited, transmit some influence to 
those of the marginal tentacles, causing them 
to secrete more copiously. 

The next point to note is, that the secretion 
from unexcited leaves, though extremely viscid, 
is not acid, or only slightly so; but that it 
becomes acid, or much more strongly so, after 
the tentacles have begun to bend over any inor- 
ganic or organic object ; and still more strongly 
acid after the tentacles have remained for some 
time closely clasped over any object. The secre- 
tion also appears to be to a certain extent anti- 
septic, as it checks the appearance of mould, thus 
preventing for a time the discolouration and decay 


of such substances as the white of an egg, etc. 
It therefore acts like the gastric juice of the 
higher animals, and the nature of the secretion 
appears to be allied to pepsin. 

Venus' fly-trap (Fig. 34) is a native of Caro- 

Fig. 34. — Venus' Fly-trap. 

lina and Florida. It has a broad-winged petiole, 
the blade forming the trap. The peculiar feature 
about this, is that the margin of the two halves 
are provided with long teeth, while the surface 
has three bristles on each, and the instant one or 
more is touched, the two halves close like a rat- 
trap. They are so sensitive that if a piece of 
cotton be made to touch one of them by dangling 
it over the bristle, the two halves of the leaf 


immediately close. The motion of the tentacles 
of sundew is slow, because the insect is retained 
by gum. Here, there is no secretion ; so, in com- 
pensation, the trap closes rapidly. 

The upper surface of the lobes is thickly covered 
with small purplish, almost sessile glands. These 
have the power both of secretion and absorp- 
tion. They do not secrete until excited by the 
absorption of nitrogenous matter. The secretion 
is almost colourless, slightly mucilaginous, and, 
judging by the manner in which it colours litmus 
paper, Darwin thought it was more strongly acid 
than that of the sundew. 

Besides the sudden closing of the two lobes of 
the leaf when the bristles are touched, Darwin 
discovered that if bits of meat or albumen, if at 
all damp, were placed on the leaf, they would not 
only excite the glands to secrete but the lobes to 

With regard to the digestive power of the 
secretion, Darwin observes that when a leaf 
closes over any object, it may be said to form 
itself into a temporary stomach ; and if the 
object yields ever so little animal matter, this 
serves as a " peptogene," and the glands on the 
surface now pour forth their acid secretion, 
which acts like the gastric juice of animals. 

Darwin makes some further interesting remarks 
upon the transmission of the motor impulse of 
the bristles. It is sufficient, he says, to touch 
any one of the six filaments to cause both lobes 
to close, these becoming at the same time in- 
curved throughout their whole breadth. The 
stimulus must therefore radiate in all directions 


from any one filament. It must also be trans- 
mitted with much rapidity across the leaf; for 
in all ordinary cases both lobes close simultan- 
eously, as far as the eye can judge. Most physi- 
ologists believe that in irritable plants the excite- 
ment is transmitted along, or in close connection 
with the fibro-vascular bundles ; but the presence 
of vessels is not necessary for the transmission of 
the motor impulse, for it is transmitted from the 
tips of the sensitive bristles or filaments (these 
being about the one-twentieth of an inch in 
length) into which no vessels enter ; moreover, 
experiments showed that there was no necessity 
for a direct line of communication from the 
filament which is touched, towards the mid- 
rib and opposite lobe. By making longitu- 
dinal slits in the leaves between the filaments 
and the mid-rib, the lobes still closed when the 
former were irritated. The motor impulse, 
therefore, travels in all directions through the 
cellular tissue. The lobes whilst closing become 
slightly incurved throughout their whole breadth. 
This movement appears, Darwin suggests, to be 
due to the contraction of the superficial layers of 
cells over the whole upper surface. On the other 
hand, the several layers of cells forming the lower 
surface of the leaf are always in a state of tension ; 
and it is owing to this mechanical state, aided 
probably by fresh fluid being attracted into the 
cells, that the lobes begin to separate or expand 
as soon as the contraction of the upper surface 
diminishes. Space will not allow me to quote more 
upon these interesting plants ; but I must refer 
the reader to Darwin's exhaustive work on Insec- 


tivorous Plants, in which he also attempts to discuss 
the possible, if not probable, evolution of the 
Sundew Family. 

The Bladderwort (Fig. 35) has a totally differ- 
ent method of seizing its prey. In the first place 
it is a submerged plant 
with finely divided leaves, 
as is so commonly the 
case with aquatic Dicoty- 
ledons ; upon these are 
little bladder-like struc- 
tures ; they are trans- 
lucent and green. Their 
walls are of two layers 
of cells. They are filled 
with water and bubbles 
of air. 

From three to seven 
bristles form a sort of 
hollow cone round the 
mouth. There is a valve- 
like lid to the bladder, 
sloping upwards, and is 

one, enlarged with trap; a attnohef] rm all <?iflp<? 
flower, two stamens and pistil aLiacneu. Oil ail blUUb 

together, on left; separate, except the Upper Or 
on right. . * . . A * i • i 

posterior margin, which 
is sharp, thin and smooth, resting on a collar of 
the lower or anterior margin which is rigid. 

Now for the uses of the several parts in catching 
small aquatic animals. The interior of the bladder 
has what might be called bifid and quadrifid 
processes. These consist of two or four spindle- 
shaped cells radiating freely from a point. 
When an animal has been caught — and what 

Fig. 35. — Bladder-wort ; shewing 
submerged dissected leaves; 


induces them to lift up the lid, enter, ana so get 
imprisoned, it is difficult to suggest — after more 
or less prolonged struggle, it dies; and when 
decomposition has set in, the absorbable parts 
become taken up by these processes. Darwin 
concluded — from whose observations the preced- 
ing is taken — that 
nitrogen is absorbed 
by the glands situated 
near the orifice, as well 
as by the quadrifid|||| 

Unlike the Sundew, 
the bladderwort only 
absorbs nourishment 
from decayed animals. 
It, in fact, frequents 
impure water. 

Butterworts, the 
other genus of the same 
family (Fig. 36), are FlG . 
common in moist 011 li s ht ; f ruit . on lef t. 
places, especially on the west side of England and 
Scotland. One species is Alpine, and like our 
other high mountainous plants is found in X. 
Europe, N. Asia, etc., and even in Fuegia and 
Greenland. Though belonging to the same 
family as the bladderworts they catch insects 
in a totally different way. . The leaves are 
arranged in a rosette, and are in our British 
species spoon-shaped, with slightly in-turned 
margins, the whole surface is covered with 
button-shaped glands consisting of sixteen cells 
supported on elongated, unicellular pedicels; 

36. — Butter-wort; with flower, 


together with smaller glands of eight cells on 
shorter pedicels. 

The glands secrete a colourless and very viscid 
fluid. It has been drawn out to a length of 
18 inches after excitement. 

In an experiment to test the insectivorous 
properties, a row of flies was placed along one 
edge ; after fifteen hours it was inrolled by the 
margin, and all the glands in contact with the 
flies was secreting copiously. 

When a fly was placed in the median line of 
the leaf, near the apex, both the lateral surfaces 
grasped it in 4 hrs. 20 mins. 

Six cabbage seeds caused the margin to infold 
in 2 hrs. 25 min. They yielded soluble matter 
fro the leaf. Inorganic matters, however, have little 
or no effect on the secretive powers ; but induce 
the infolding of the margins. The shortest time 
taken to infold the margins completely was 
two hours seventeen minutes when nitrogenous 
substances or fluids were given to the leaves. 

The average time for unfolding the margins 
was twenty-four hours. 

The advantage of this inrolling movement 
is to bring the glands near the edge vertically 
downwards upon the object, so that while it 
rests on glands below, those above it can add 
their secretion. Moreover, larger prey that 
cannot be infolded are pushed to the middle of 
the leaf where glands abound. The incurved 
edges also collect, as in a spoon, the superabun- 
dant secretion. It is only nitrogenous substances 
or fluids which cause the secretion to be acid and 
therefore capable of digesting such food. 



Aldrovandra vesiculosa (Fig. 37) of the Con- 
tinent, a genus of the same family as the Sundew, 
is an aquatic plant having its leaves in whorls 
and the blade bi-lobed like that of Venus' Fly- 
trap, and more or less closed like a half-opened 
pea-pod, Like the bladderwort 
it is destitute of roots, but floats 
freely in water. The lobes of 
the leaf are formed of very delicate 
tissue. They open only to a slight 

Each lobe rather exceeds a semi- 
circle in shape, and consists of 
two very different portions; the 
inner and lesser, or that next 
the mid-rib, is slightly concave. FlG - ^--AWrovan- 
Its upper surface is studded ,a ' Cd ' 
with colourless glands. The outer and broader 
portion of the lobe is flat and very thin. It 
bears small quadrifid processes, which curiously 
resemble those of the Bladderwort, though, as 
stated, these two plants belong to widely dif- 
ferent families (Fig. 38). 

The rim is provided with a row of conical, 
flattened, transparent points, with broad bases, 
like the prickles of a bramble ; but they are com- 
posed of very delicate and highly flexible mem- 
brane. They somewhat resemble, but are really 
totally distinct from, the teeth of Venus' Fly-trap. 

On the concave gland-bearing portion of the 
lobes, and especially on the mid-rib, there are 
numerous long, finely pointed hairs, which, 
without doubt, are sensitive to touch, and cause 
the leaf to close. 


Darwin was unable to carry out sufficient 
experiments with this plant; but says, that if 
we may trust to analogy, the concave and inner 
portions of the two lobes probably close together 
by a slow movement, as soon as the glands have 

absorbed a slight 
amount of already 
, soluble animal matter. 
\ He discovered that 
» both the points on 
j • the margins, as well 
/ as the quadrifids, had 
' absorbed a nitrogenous 
solution in the course 
of twenty-four hours. 

Fig. 38.— Aldrovandra ; leaf pressed He Came to the COI1- 
flat open (after Darwin). elusion that the glands 

secrete a true digestive fluid, and afterwards 
absorb the digested matter. 

The interesting feature about this plant is 
that the form of the trap resembles the leaf of 
the Venus' Fly-trap, together with its sensitive 
bristles and glands ; but that of a totally dis- 
tinct plant in the quadrifid processes. 

Lastly, there is a species of marsh marigold 
in the Falkland Islands, off Cape Horn, which 
has trap-like leaf-blades, with toothed margins, 
and half-closed, very like those of Venus' Fly- 
trap ; but nothing is known of its capabilities 
of catching insects. 

The chief point of interest, from an evolu- 
tionary point of view, is seen in the fact that 
plants of no affinities whatever put on similar 
structures to gain the same end, when necessary ; 


and not only may this be with identically the 
same organ, as, e.g., the leaf-blades in the above 
cases ; but different organs may assume the same 
form, as we shall see in the case of pitcher 
plants of Australia, when we come to consider 
the peculiar flora of that country in the next 



There are certain peculiar features characteristic 
of the structures of all aquatic flowering plants, 
which are, by their universal coincidence, ob- 
viously adaptations to a life in water. For, when 
we observe such to be identically the same in 
a great number of plants of widely different 
families, and therefore of no affinity, the con- 
clusion is inevitable that it is the water which 
has been the prime cause of their existence. 

Commencing with roots, we find that when 
the seeds of aquatic plants germinate, the pri- 
mary or tap-root is very often soon arrested. 
This occurs, e.g., in the water-crowfoot and the 
spear-wort, in the water-chesnut, in the man- 
groves, 1 trees growing in the swamps near the 
mouths of tropical rivers (Fig. 39). After a time 

1 These belong to two widely different families, Rhizo- 
phorecc and Verbenacece, showing how the same habit of 
growth iias been acquired under similar external con- 


the stems of such trees, like those of the screw- 
pines, 1 among Monocotyledons of a similar habit, 
terminate below abruptly, often above the level 
of the ground, but are supported, as already 
stated, on numerous "adventitious" roots, ex- 

Fig. 39. — Mangroves ; supported by adventitious roots. 

tending like tent-ropes. These roots are con- 
tinually being formed in ascending series by 
their issuing out of the stem, being also often 
branched. Similar roots are readily observable 
in a germinating maize plant. 

Submerged stems are always characterised by 
1 Pandanus. 



Laving long channels or air-chambers, separated 
by transverse diaphragms ; whereas, the woody 
tissues necessary for supporting stems growing 
in the air are almost entirely absent, for the 
water without, and the air within the stems, 
keep them erect. Simi- 
larly the cortical tissue 
of aerial stems is compact, 
but that of submerged 
stems is lax, and full of 
air - passages or lacunce, 
caused by the separation 
of the cells from one 
another in places. 

The thick rhizomes of 

Water-lilies, which Creep Fig. 40.— Water Ciwfootjshew- 
, 1 *n 1 . me submerged and floating 

along the mild, illustrate leaves; also a petal with the 

another feature of im- notary at base, 
portance, for the fibro-vascular bundles or cords 
of woody tissue, instead of being arranged in 
definite concentric cylinders, as seen in any cross 
section of a piece of timber, showing zones of 
annual growth, these are greatly dislocated and 
scattered through the fundamental or pith-like 
cellular tissue. Hence the rhizome of a water- 
lily has often been compared with and likened 
to the stem of a Monocotyledon, such as of aspar- 
agus or a palm. 

With regard to the leaves of aquatic plants, 
the submerged leaves of Dicotyledons are mostly 
finely divided, nothing being left of the inter- 
sticial tissue between the fibro-vascular bundles 
or " veins" of the leaf, as in the water-crowfoot 
(Fig. 40). 



Since terrestrial plants, allied to aquatic ones 
with divided leaves, have theirs of the ordinary 
or complete type, we may safely credit the water 
as being the inciting cause of the dissected char- 
acter of submerged leaves. 1 The reader may 
compare in his mind the water-crowfoot and a 
field buttercup, the water-violet and a primrose, 
the bladderwort with the butterwort. 

A less number of plants of the class Dicoty- 
ledons have ribbon-like leaves when submerged. 
Such occur in our aquatic species of lobelia, 
not uncommon in the Welsh Lakes ; the only 
other species in England, to be found in Dorset 
and Cornwall, has net-veined leaves with a 
toothed margin. The marestail and water-star- 
wort are other common examples. 

The number of plants belonging to the class 
Monocotyledons, which are aquatic, is far more 
numerous. In fact, the percentage of Natural 
Orders or Families, containing aquatic plants, is 
thirty-three, whereas it is only four in Dicoty- 

In the enumeration of the most obvious char- 
acters distinguishing these two classes, given in 
Chapter III., it will be seen that the first men- 
tioned refers to the non-existence (as in ger- 
minating wheat or barley), or, if it be de- 
veloped, the early arrest (as in Indian corn 

1 As examples taken from different families, there are 
the water-crowfoot {Ranunculus family), a watercress 
(Nasturtium amphibium, of Crucifers), a kind of celery 
(Apium inundatum, of Umbellifers), the water milfoil 
(of ffaloragea^), the water violet (of the Primrose family), 
the Bladderwort and Hornwort. The above are selected 
from widely distinct families. 



or the date) of the primary or axial root in 

The plant is subsequently supported, as already 
stated, and nourished by adventitious roots, 
arising in ascending order from the base of the 
stem. Now, this is universal among Monocoty- 
ledons, but it is also far from uncommon among 
aquatic Dicotyledons. 

The stem of a Monocotyledon, as of a palm-tree, 
or shoot of asparagus, was long ago seen to afford 
a sharp contrast to that of a Dicotyledon ; and 
since the annual cylinders of wood are formed 
outside the previous years, as in all our British 
timber trees ; such was called " exogenous 71 and 
Dicotyledons were also called exogens, i.e. "be- 
gotten without." In Monocotyledons, however, 
no such cylinders of wood are formed, the fibre- 
vascular bundles, which represent it, pass down 
the stem from the leaves and outwards again at 
their lower ends, terminating in the circumfer- 
ence. Through a misconception the younger 
bundles or woody cords were thought to be 
always within the others. Hence the term 
"endogens," i.e. " begotten within," was framed 
as a synonym for Monocotyledons; but it was 
a faulty expression. It is only mentioned as it 
still occurs in our text-books, and in Sir J. D. 
Hooker's " Student's Flora of the British Isles." 

The word " endogenous " is still useful as de- 
scriptive of the origin of roots ; for these take 
their rise from a deep-seated active layer of tissue, 
and issue out of the " mother " root by dissolving 
out a passage through to the surface of the cor- 
tical layers. I say, 4 ' dissolves," because the apex 


of the secondary root is provided with a sort of 
cap which secretes a " ferment." This causes the 
dissolution of the cortical tissue upon which the 
young root feeds until it has escaped from the 
mother-root and penetrates the soil. 

The layer of tissue from which the root takes 
its rise is a very important one, it forms a thin 
cylinder beneath the cortical tissue over the 
woody cylinder of roots and stems. It supplies 
all the secondary and subsequent rootlets. 

In the stems of Monocotyledons which have no 
" cambium " layer beneath the cork, wherewith 
to form annual layers of wood and bark, as in our 
dicotyledonous timber trees, this "pericycle " is 
a substitute, and by its means the stems of Mono- 
cotyledons can increase in diameter to a certain 

In the flowering stems of herbaceous Monocoty- 
ledons, as of the Lily of the Valley and Ixias, it 
assumes the role of supplying mechanical tissues ; 
as a " stiffening. " The reader will perhaps re- 
call the " wiry " character of such flower-stalks. 
In Dicotyledons it makes the fibres so useful in 
hemp, flax and many other stems. 

Contrary to the nature of roots ; branches, how- 
ever, are continuous with the trunk and are there- 
fore spoken of as " exogenous " in development. 

A similarity between the two classes may often 
be seen in flower-stalks. In these herbaceous 
stems the fibro-vascular cords are arranged in one 
or two circles, but isolated from each other. The 
flower-stalk of an anemone will be found thus 
to exactly resemble that of a daffodil ; but the 
former is a Dicotyledon while the latter is a 



Monocotyledon. Such resemblances point to an 
original and common origin of the two classes. 

We have already seen that there are some strong 
resemblances between the leaves of Monocoty- 
ledons and the leaves of certain aquatic Dicoty- 
ledons. Let us consider them more in detail. 

The almost universal character of submerged 
leaves of Monocotyledons is to be long and 
ribbon-like. The reader will recall those of 
bullrushes, the sweet flag, the flowering rush, 
and of true rushes, etc. The "insertion" of 
the leaf in the stem is by a broad and more or 
less sheathing base, which encircles the stem to a 
less or greater degree. The fibro-vascular bundles 
pass out of them and run in parallel courses from 
end to end, generally united by cross-bars, thereby 
making square or oblong interstices. Such is the 
origin of the " parallel venation," regarded as 
one of the most characteristic features of mono- 
cotyledonous leaves. 

We have seen that the effect of living sub- 
merged causes an arrest of the intersticial parts 
of the leaves of the majority of aquatic Dicoty- 
ledons, reducing them to a finely divided state. A 
similar effect is often seen in our pond-weeds, in 
which some of the square interstices are not de- 
veloped, so the leaf appears to be perforated. 
In the latticed-leaf plant of Madagascar, all the 
interstices are thus arrested. 1 

1 Ouvirandra fenestralis. This genus and Aponogcton 
are the only two of the same family. A. distachyus is 
hardy in England, and is occasionally grown in ponds. 
It has a forking flowering-stem ; each branch bearing 
two rows of white bracts and small flowers in their axils. 
The leaf resembles that of the Lattice-leaved plant, but 
has no perforations. 


Now there are some members of the Aroidece, 
now terrestrial, but having large perforations 
in their leaves, which are hereditary; and it 
is difficult to account for them otherwise than 
having been acquired when their ancestors were 
aquatic plants ; and so 
they retained this feature 
when they finally became 

Another type of foliage 
found among Mono- 
cotyledons is that of 
the African aloe and the 
"American aloe," really 
jj of a different genus and 
]|j family. These plants 
now grow in very arid 
districts where rainrarely 
falls; so that the leaves 
have acquired a massive 
character in order to 
store up great quantities 
of water in their internal 
cellular tissue. 

Fig. 41.— Water-soldier ; showing Our British Water- 
stolons; male flower and single soldfer Would Seem to 
stamen (left) ; female flower, . . c xl 

stigmas (right); and fruit with give us an idea oi the 

2-leaved spathe (middle). origin of this type of 

foliage ; for it bears a tuft of rigid and brittle 
radical leaves with a toothed margin, recalling 
the marginal teeth of the aloes (Fig. 41). 

It may thus, perhaps, represent the original 
aquatic type of foliage from which the aloes 
have descended and become terrestrial. 



A better parallel is perhaps to be seen, between 
the development of leaves of an aquatic Dicotyle- 
don and of Monocotyledons in the evolution of 
those of the arrow-head. As long as the leaves 
of the latter are well submerged, they are long 
and ribbon-like. As the tips come near to the 
surface of the water, they begin to form an oval 
blade, and two basal appendages then appear on 
it, thus forming a spear-shaped blade. The three 
points elongate and now rise out of the water and 
take on the permanent form of an arrow-head, 
giving the name to the plant. 

An interesting proof of the effect of water in 
causing the linear ribbon-like form, is seen in the 
fact that if a leaf has just commenced to widen 
out at the top to form a blade, if the water be 
suddenly deepened, so as to completely submerge 
it, then the apex sets to work to grow out again 
into a strap-shaped prolongation. 

Sometimes the leaf has already acquired the 
spear-head form with its two basal points. Then 
the effect may be that all three points are induced 
to run out into straps or with ribbon-like ex- 

A large number of Monocotyledons, especially 
of the family Aroidece, have this arrow-headed 
form of leaf-blade, as in our common lords and 
ladies or cuckoo-pint. This plant bears small 
oval blades at first — just like the first blades of 
the arrow-head's leaf — then, subsequently, the 
complete form. 

Turning to the water-lily family of Dicoty- 
ledons, a similar progression is seen, as, e.g., in 
the germination of the Great Water-lily of the 


Amazon, known as Victoria regia. The seedlings 
of this plant, which is an annual, first throw out 
nothing but flat petioles, then follows the arrow- 
headed form, and finally the orbicular leaf. 

In some plants the basal halves of the lower 
part of the arrow-headed leaf are united, so that 
the " peltate" leaf, which it now becomes, is 
somewhat triangular in shape ; 1 but, as a rule, it 
is the orbicular or horse-shoe shaped leaf which has 
the lower edges united, thus forming a circular 
blade, with the petiole attached to the centre, as 
in the lotus and the garden nasturtium. This 
suggests the name " peltate" or shield-like. 

We thus see how the foliage of Monocotyle- 
dons can be traced to forms assumed by aquatic 
Dicotyledons ; and when the final result is a 
genuinely reticulated " venation " in the blade, 
as in the leaf of the cuckoo-pint, black bryony, 
Paris, Trillium, etc., we seem to recall the ancestral 
type of Dicotyledons generally. 

In describing plants one often has occasion to 
speak of their degeneracy, and as water is one 
of the most active agents in causing it, it may 
be as well to observe that it really means the 
putting a terrestrial plant in adaptation to, and in 
harmony with, a watery existence. The stems 
" degenerate" in the sense of non-development of 
wood, simply because it is not wanted. It sup- 
presses the stomates on the submerged leaves, 
because they would be of no use. But the plant 
is simply in perfect adjustment to its condition 
of life. 

1 This occurs in the genus Caladium 



We have learnt that the typical structure of a 
flower consists of a calyx, corolla, stamens, and 
pistil ; and we want to know why the parts of 
these whorls vary in number. Thus dicotyle- 
donous flowers are generally in fours or fives and 
monocotyledonous in threes. 

Then, again, we have seen that a typical 
flower has the whorls " regular," i.e. with all the 
members exactly alike, as are the petals of a 
buttercup. But in many flowers the petals are 
of different shapes as of a violet and pea-blossom. 
How has this irregularity come about, since all 
primitive flowers possessing a corolla are assumed 
to have been regular ? 

We will consider these two kinds of differences 
in flowers in the present chapter. 

As all flowers are referable to a leaf -bud, as 
will be more fully explained in a subsequent 
chapter, we shall find our clue to the number five, 
which is by far the commonest among sepals, 
petals, and stamens, in a very simple way. Take 
a leafy shoot of a rose-tree or hawthorn, call 
any leaf No. 1 ; then, it will be observed that if 
a line were drawn round the stem through the 
base of each leaf-stalk in succession, it will be a 
spiral one, and coil twice round the stem before 
it arrives at a leaf (the sixth) exactly over 
No. 1. 



The five leaves (No. 1 to No. 5) make a so- 
called " cycle." Similarly, No. 6 to No. 10 form 
a second cycle, and so on. Now, suppose the 
internodes or distances between the leaves to be 
suppressed, and the leaves of four cycles to be 
brought down to one level, we 
should have what exactly cor- 
responds to four floral whorls 
of five parts each, except in 
one particular ; and that is, 
to avoid crowding, Nature 
shifts each whorl so as to make 
fig. 42.-Diagram cf a {t alternate with the next, 
complete pentamerous Consequently, the leaves, Nos. 

flower of Geranium. n -t i i /? 01 „~ ~ *. j.1 

6, 11, 16, 21 are not exactly 
over each other, but now lie between those of the 
whorls above and below (Fig. 42). 

This is so general a law in flowers, that if any 
whorl of a flower is found to be exactly over 
another, botanists at once know that an inter- 
mediate whorl has been suppressed. This occurs 
in the primrose and pimpernel (Fig. 43), in 
which the five stamens stand in front 
of the petals and not between them. A 
genus known as brookweed, of the 
same family, has stump-like rudiments 
of stamens between the petals, as well 
as five perfect stamens in front of 
them (Fig. 44); so it illustrates an Fl ^ 3 -^ 
ancestral condition when two com- stamen of 
plete whorls of stamens were pre- Pim P ernel - 
sent in alternate positions, the innermost being 
only present in the primrose. Several of the 
Incomplete have stamens in front of the sepals ; 


because in this group the corolla is generally 

Now let us try to account for flowers which have 
their parts in twos and fours, as in the enchanters 
night-shade, lilac, and fuchsia. If we look at 
the leaves of these plants we shall 
find that they are arranged in pairs, 
each pair being in a position at 
right angles to those above and 
below it. If we suppress the in- Fig. 44. — Brook, 
ternodes, we get either whorls of S>roiiL andsta- 
twos; or if nature takes two mens laid open, 
pairs to make a whorl, the flower is in fours. 

In Monocotyledons we find i ' threes" to pre- 
vail, as in lilies, hyacinth, crocus, etc. 

In these plants, it will generally be found that 
the leaves are so arranged that the fourth leaf 
stands on the spiral line over the first, so that 
three leaves only now make a cycle. Hence the 
whorls are in threes. 

Sometimes the number of parts is so great 
(more than twelve) that it is called " indefinite." 
This occurs in the stamens and carpels of a butter- 
cup. A close inspection shows that they are 
spirally distributed, so that they are referable 
to the prevailing type of arrangement of leaves. 
Thus, then, we can account generally for the 
various numbers of the parts of floral whorls. 
Exceptional cases occur, when one or more parts 
are wanting, as in Labiates, though the sepals 
and petals are five each, there are in nearly all 
cases only four stamens, because the posterior or 
fifth stamen is suppressed. 

Of the two kinds of arrangement of leaves in 


plants, viz., the one with " opposite " pairs of 
leaves, and the other, when there is only a 
single leaf at a node or " alternate," the question 
arises, how does the latter issue from the former ? 
Because, if we go back to seeds of Dicotyledons, 
we find they all (allowing for rare exceptions) 
start with a pair of opposite leaves or coty- 
ledons, as seen in germinating mustard and cress. 
But, it often happens that a shoot will have op- 
posite leaves below and alternate above, as on the 
stem of a willow-herb, and, as especially worthy 
of study, is that of the Jerusalem Artichoke. 

It will be found that the first step in the 
change is a separation of the pair of leaves by a 
very short joint or internode; and as the stem elon- 
gates, the leaves of the successive pairs become 
further apart and at the same time, so to say, 
shift their positions, they are no longer opposite 
to one another. This process will be illustrated 
by the following scheme, in which, however, the 
leaves are placed, as if remaining opposite in pairs, 
viz., 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, etc., constituting 
the original opposite pairs. 

The arrows indicate the order in which they 
will occur up the stem, when they have become 
alternate and stand singly on a spiral line as 
already explained. 


10 ^ 
3 8 11 12 7 4 

4> 9 

1 -> 


The sixth leaf is then over the first 

The next point to consider is how irregularities 
have come into existence in flowers. 

To answer this question, first, and then to prove 
it, I might say that they are the actual result of 
the habitual visits of certain insects, which come 
to them for honey. 

In other words, the living protoplasm of the 
flower responds to the irritations, pressures, etc., 
set up by the insect alighting on the flower ; so 
that it gradually (i.e. through successive gener- 
ations) assumed the irregular form now existing, 
in special adaptation to its visitor. 

This is, of course, a theoretical explanation, 
because, we cannot induce a regular flower to 
become irregular; but the theory is based on 
innumerable coincidences, which render it highly 
probable. Space will not permit of much illus- 
tration but the following examples will show the 
line of argument. 

The calyx of the furze and sage will be ob- 
served to be two-lobed, 2 sepals forming the pos- 
terior, and 3 the anterior half in the former while 
in labiates, to which the sage belong, the numbers 
are reversed. In sages the calyx is tubular and 
often possesses a number of stout ribs. Suppose 
we represent them as follows : — d (dorsal) stands 
for the original mid-ribs of the 5 coherent sepa- 
line-leaves. m (marginal) occurs where the se- 
pals are united by their edges, s (supernumerary 
rib) in front. 
















What is the interpretation of this arrangement 1 
The weight of the hee is all on the front part of 
the flower ; as she alights on the enlarged front 
petal or lip of the corolla. The tube of the 
latter is sheathed by the calyx-tube ; so that the 
pressure is all on the front part of the calyx- 
tube. This tends to tear the calyx across, and 
accounts for two-lobed form. To resist this, strong 
cords are run up in the weakest places ; only one 
(m) occurs between each sepal at the back, as the 
strain is least there ; but two (m, m) are at the 
sides, two more together with an extra cord (s) 
are in the front, just where the strain is greatest. 

The whole structure of the calyx with its dis- 
tribution of cords is seen to correspond exactly 
with the mechanical pressures and strains brought 
to bear upon it. 

In Salvia or sage, we see how extra ribs are 
added to the anterior or front half of the calyx- 
tube ; but if we examine the flower of the wood- 
sage in which there is no posterior hood to the 
corolla, we shall find that the corolla lip hangs 
vertically, and in a cultivated species (which shows 
the details somewhat better, called Tencrium 
[Teucris] orientale, Fig. 45) the corolla is split at 
the back and hangs in a vertical direction, the 


stamens and pistil being erect. The insect hangs 
upon the corolla, so that the whole weight of the 
insect is so much to the front, that the leverage 
will be at a considerable disadvantage, much more 

so than when the insect stands 
more directly over the tube of the 
corolla. To meet this difficulty 
the pedicel is curved over at the 
top, as may be readily seen in our 
common wood-sage, and forms a 
spring ; while hypertrophy has 
attacked the posterior side of the 

calyx, so that it now carries two fig. 45.— Teu- 
extra marginal ribs, one on either cHum. 
side of the posterior dorsal one, as shewn in the 
accompanying diagram. This is exactly the 
reverse of what occurs in Salvia and others which 

m m 
d d 
d d 

are much more strengthened on the anterior 
side, when the insect stands more directly over 
the centre of the flower. 

Irregularities occur most frequently in corollas, 
so that " lips " are very common ; as in the violet 
or pansy, the labiates, many of the snapdragon 
order, most orchids, etc., and as they are always 
in front, where an insect alights, the coincidence 
strengthens the theory, that here too, there 
has been a direct cause and effect in their pro- 

In many orchids the flower has become in- 
verted, either by the twisting of the pedicel as, 


in twayblade ; or of the ovary, if sessile, as of 
Orchis ; 1 or again, the flower may bend over to 
the opposite side of the stem, without any twisting 
at all, as in the "Bee-ophrys." In all cases, how- 
ever, it is really the posterior petal which forms the 
lip in front, instead of being a true anterior one. 
So that these very exceptions add additional 
reasons for accepting the theory. There is yet 
another coincidence with regard to irregular 
flowers. They are almost invariably situated close 
to the stem in the form of a spike ; so that an in- 
sect has no alternative in coming from the front. 
On the other hand, regular flowers are either ter- 
minal as a tulip, or if on a raceme as the currant 
and lily of the valley, there is nothing to prevent 
an insect resting on any part of it when alighting 
from any direction. It is not at all uncommon 
to find the terminal flower on a spike of aconite, 
larkspur, or horse-chesnut to be quite regular. 
M. Vilmorin has succeeded in fixing this pecu- 
liarity in the foxglove ; which, besides its row of 
flowers of the usual form, is surmounted by a 
large bell-shaped one at the summit. It not in- 
frequently happens that the flowers of labiates, as of 
the salvia, are accidentally quite regular (Fig. 46). 
The fifth stamen is sometimes also restored. 

Now let us note a fact about stamens. In the 
majority of flowers the corolla forms the landing 
place. Sometimes, however, there is no strictly 
anterior petal, so that the insect visitor cannot 
alight on a single enlarged petal, but stands on 

1 The twisted inferior ovary, which causes the reversed 
position of the flower of Orchis, can be seen in the figure 
No. 22, in Grant Allen's book, p. 126. 


the stamens instead. When this is the case, they 
all, together with the style, bend down, forming a 
sort of horizontal and elongated S, thus ^\ This 
gives them sufficient strength to carry the bee. 
It occurs in the horse-chesnut, rhododendron, 
some lilies, amaryllis, etc. The 
stamens are said to be " decimate." 

Sometimes there is a petal below 
the stamens, but the insect has 
found it more convenient to stand 
on the latter, and as ncurishment 
now seems to be withdrawn from 

Fig. 46. — Regular Salvia ; a. complete flower ; b. corolla laid open, 
showing/owr perfect stamens (the fifth, not developed). 

below to strengthen the filaments, the anterior 
petal becomes dwarfed and reduced in size, as in 
Amaryllis and Speedwell, or vanishes altogether, 
as in the blossom of the horse-chesnut. 
In some flowers the bee hangs on to the stamens, 



as in Rosebay, and the side petals being, so 
to say, in the way, have got dislocated, and 
look as if they were pushed aside. 

This occurs in many flowers, besides the rose- 
bay, as Dictamnus (Fig. 47), and Clerodendron. 

Now it may be asked, what evidence have we 
that flowers can respond to mechanical irritations, 

and so build up 
floral structures in 
adaptation to in- 
sects. Well, it is 
not altogether a 
speculation. First, 
we have seen how 
leaves and stems 
respond to strains, 
and put on mechani- 
cal tissues to meet 
them. Thus tendrils 
completely alter 
their forms and 
structures under 

Fig. 47.— Dictamnus : showing declinate tensions, as of the 
stamens and "dislocated" petals. T7 . • . A , 

Virginia creeper. At 
first it consists of slender branching threads, but as 
soon as it has its hooked tips in contact with the 
roughnesses on the surface of a wall, the tips develop 
adhesive pads or discs, while the branches of the ten- 
dril become corkscrew-like, and greatly thickened. 

Irritability of protoplasm, with responsive 
action, are general phenomena in the vegetable 
kingdom, so that one can draw conclusions based 
on numerous probabilities, which is practically 
equivalent to a demonstration. 


Moreover, we must remember that the correla- 
tions between the flower and the insect are not 
confined to one particular only, for they run 
through all parts of it. Thus, we have seen how 
the calyx and corolla of sage are in agreement ; 
and the stamens are so 
placed and constructed 
as to strike the bee 
with the anthers in a 
certain place. Then, 
again, the stigmas are 
so situated, that they 
must hit the bee pre- 
cisely where the pollen 
had been previously 

Lastly, the position 
of the honey-gland is 
exactly where it should 
be for the bee to have 
ready access to it. 

I will here illustrate two cases of "close- 
fitting" adaptations, if I may so call it. First 
let us take the sage or salvia. There are only 
two stamens, supported on very short filaments 
(Fig. 48), but the "connective," which unites 
the anther-cells, is extraordinarily developed into 
a curved rod, which moves up and down as on a 
pivot. The uppermost anther has pollen, but the 
lower one has none. When a bee enters the 
flower her head strikes the spoon-shaped empty 
anther-cell, so that she sets the connective 
moving, which, then, brings the polleniferous 
anther down upon her back (Fig. 49). 

Fig. 48.— Salvia. Hood of Corolla 
removed, to show stamens and 
their action. 


The other flower is called Duvernoia, and the 
accompanying figure No. 50, will explain matters. 
Looking at the left hand figure, a, one might ask, 
For what use is this great irregularity of the 
corolla; and why and how has it come into 

existence ? And no 
answer is forthcom- 
ing. Now, turning 
to the right hand 
figure, b, we see one 
use at least. The 
weight of the bee 
must be very great; 

Fig. 49.— Salvia. Bee within Corolla, an d the CUHOUS shape 

and connectives depressed. - . , ,. ... , * 

oi the lip, with its 
lateral ridges, is evidently not only an excellent 
landing-place, but is so constructed as to bear 
that weight. Moreover, the two w T alls slope off, 
and are gripped by the legs of the bee, so that 
it evidently can secure an excellent purchase, 
and can thus rifle the flower of its treasure at 
its ease. 

There yet remains to be briefly considered the 
converse of the preceding facts. If the adapta- 
tions to insects in a flow T er have been brought 
about by the insects themselves, then, if the 
irritations be not kept up, in consequence of 
insects ceasing to visit them, it would be not 
unreasonable to suppose that they would revert 
to some less complicated form. And this is pre- 
cisely what appears to be the case. Innumerable 
flowers are now very inconspicuous, but they 
still retain a corolla, which was formerly the 
attractive organ, as in such weeds as shepherd's 


purse, hedge-mustard, chickweed, etc. These have 
become more or less adapted to pollinate them- 
selves. Consequently they have no fear of not 
setting seed, as is the case with most orchids, 
which are absolutely dependent upon visitors. 
Their degrada- 
tions are seen 
in the minute 
size of the 
flowers, and in 
a number of 
which will be 
summarised in 
another chap- 

Lastly, being 
independent of 
insects, they are more widely dispersed than are 
insect-fertilised plants. Many of our common 
weeds have become cosmopolitan, being scattered 
over the southern hemisphere as well as the 
northern. 1 

The theory advanced in this chapter may be 
applied in explanation of " mimetic " flowers. 
These are of many different families, but imitate 
one another in their general appearance, though 
the structure, when examined in detail, is very 
different. A few of the following have been 
referred to in another connection, but may be 

1 If the reader desires to read more of the subject of this 
chapter, he will find it in the author's "Making of 
Flowers" (S. P. C. K., 2s. 6d.), and also "The Origin of 
Floral Structures " (K. Paul k Co., 5s.). 



here quoted in illustration of the peculiarity of 

First, with regard to bracts as imitating petals 
and collectively a corolla. They are often coloured 
as in the winter flowering, familiar decorative 
plant, Poinsettia, in which the true flowers are 
very minute and quite inconspicuous were it not 
for the brilliant scarlet leaves or bracts. The 
Everlastings supply another instance in which 
the coloured bracts of the involucre are often 
mistaken for a corolla. In the cornel, there are 
four white bracts in some species surrounding 
numerous minute flowers, rendering the inflores- 
cence exactly like a white flowered clematis. A 
species of greenhouse spurge, known as Euphorbia 
jacquiniwflww, has a little cup with five scarlet 
projections on the rim exactly like a bright little 
scarlet-petalled flower. But the cup is of the 
nature of an involucre like that of the French 
marigold, and contains both male and female 
flowers within it. 

The familiar pea-blossom is imitated by several 
plants of no relationship whatever. Thus the 
milkwort has been called "falsely papilionaceous;" 
the latter term means "like a butterfly," and 
has been applied to the corollas of the Legu- 
minous family. 

If we turn to the Labiates, and examine the 
common white dead-nettle, the four stamens will 
be found erect under the posterior hood ; but in 
some foreign genera, as in the genus plectranthus, 
grown in greenhouses, either for its ccerulean 
blue flowers or coloured foliage, the stamens lie 
horizontally, concealed in a boat-like lip; but of 


course the corolla is really gamopetalous, and not 
polypetalous as in the pea. 

There is also a genus in the Fox-glove family, 
often grown in gardens as an annual, called 
Collinsia Mcolor, which has a flower precisely con- 
structed as the last mentioned of the Labiates. 
It thus closely mimics a pea-flower. Some kinds 
of S. African Pelargoniums also are not at all 
unlike blossoms of the Pea family. 

There is an orchid of S. Africa known as 
Disa Cooperi with upturned spurs, so that the 
spike of flowers might easily be mistaken for one 
of larkspurs. 

Among Monocotyledons, the familiar form of a 
flower of the crocus is imitated in other families 
than that to which it belongs ; as, e.g., the Col- 
chicum, which is actually called, though wrongly, 
the autumn crocus. In a third family is a plant 
with a yellow flower looking like a crocus grow- 
ing in the east of the Mediterranean regions called 
Sternbergia lutea. 

When we compare the structures of flowers of 
plants belonging to the Labiate family with 
many of the Fox-glove family, there are very 
close resemblances. Thus, for example, the four 
erect stamens of the dead-nettle standing up 
under the posterior hood is paralleled by the 
stamens in the snap-dragon, fox-glove, toad-flax, 
etc. In both is the landing-place or lip present, 
and the honey-gland in front just where the 
insect will find it. 

Yet the structure of the pistil is so totally 
different, yet uniform in each family respectively, 
that the conclusion is inevitable that all the genera 


have differentiated from two distinct stocks since 
the pistils characteristic of each family had been 

I have already called attention to the great 
number of plants of many distinct families in 
which the stamens are decimate. Now all these 
facts conspire to prove that they have come 
about because more or less similar insects have 
repeatedly visited widely distinct plants of many 
orders. Then the flowers presumably responded, 
and within the limits permissible by their struc- 
tures, have acquired certain resemblances which 
render them imitative of one another. 

It may be here added that mimetic flowers are 
only one instance of this peculiarity in the vege- 
table kingdom. I shall have occasion to show 
that it occurs abundantly in leaves and other 
organs of plants, but in every case the principle 
is the same, that the resemblances of structure have 
been brought about by the plants having lived 
for many generations under the same external 
conditions, to which their living protoplasm has 
responded, and so built up structures best suited 
for them under the circumstances. 

I have alluded to the fact that when flowers 
are habitually visited on one side, then such 
flowers are always irregular; but that if they 
come from all points of the compass then the 
flower is regular. I have also called attention to 
the fact that terminal flowers of spikes bearing 
normally irregular ones are sometimes regular. 

Now we cannot make an irregular flower out 
of a regular one. Nature probably required 
many generations of the same in sect- visitors to 


effect this change ; but flowers normally irregular 
in nature not infrequently have re-acquired 
regularity under cultivation. In other words, in 
the absence of the native insects of the country 
from which the flowers have come, they have re- 
verted to the ancestral form. This is, of course, 
only of the nature of negative evidence, but of 
importance as far as it goes. 

Dr Masters observes, in his work on "Ter- 
atology" (i.e. on the monstrous changes under- 
gone by flowers, about which I propose to add a 
chapter), that in cultivated pelargoniums, the 
central flower of the truss .frequently retains its 
regularity of proportion, so as closely to approxi- 
mate to the normal condition of the allied genus 
geranium. This resemblance is rendered greater 
by the fact that, under such circumstances, the 
patches of darker colour characteristic of the 
ordinary flower are completely wanting, the 
flower being as uniform in colour as in shape. 
Even the nectary, which is adherent to the 
upper surface of the pedicel in the normal flower 
of pelargoniums, disappears, sometimes com- 
pletely, at other times partially. The direction 
of the stamens and style, and even that of the 
whole flower, becomes altered from the inclined 
to the vertical position. In addition to these 
changes, which are those most commonly met 
with, the number of the parts of the flower is 
sometimes augmented, and a tendency to pass 
from the verticillate, or whorled to the spiral 
arrangement is manifested. 

All the differentiations in an ordinary lateral 
blossom of pelargonium brought about by insect 


agency are, in the above instances, reversed, in 
consequence of the flower assuming a terminal 

A more complete illustration of the effect of 
manner of growth and the distribution of 
nutrition could not well be given, showing how 
all the features of irregularity acquired by the 
ordinary form must have been induced or im- 
pressed upon the flower when growing laterally 
and easily visited, but from the front only ; but 
that they are readily lost, as soon as the sap 
can be distributed radially, and so cause the 
parts to grow symmetrically round the now 
vertical axis. 

Besides the occasional appearance of one or 
more terminal and regular flowers among a truss 
of irregular ones, it is the object of florists to 
induce all the blossoms of many irregular flowers 
to become regular. Thus cultivated pelargo- 
niums, gloxinias, azaleas, pansies, etc., which are 
normally irregular, tend to become regular and 
quite circular in outline under cultivation, and 
so lose all their characteristic features. 

In all these cases, I am inclined to recognise 
negative evidence in favour of the theory advanced; 
in that, presuming the characteristic irregularities 
to have been brought about by the agency of 
insects, and through the crossing of distinct 
flowers by these creatures, and that the irregu- 
larities have arisen under the various pressures, 
etc. ; then, under cultivation, though they may 
be repeatedly crossed by man — the process, how- 
ever, not being effected in the same way as by 
insects, and consequently the causes of irregu- 


larity being wanting — the flowers now revert 
to their ancestral forms, while ample supplies of 
nutriment doubtless play an important part in 
the process. 

A good illustration of this reversion is seen in 
the cultivated gloxinias. These have pendalous 
tubes, with an irregular border to the corolla, 
and four stamens; but in 1842, one flower ap- 
peared with an erect tube, symmetrical border, 
and five stamens, a perfect reversion to regu- 
larity. This has now become a constitutional 
affection ; for when the flowers of a drooping 
blossom are fertilized with their own pollen, a 
large number of the seedlings will bear the 
erect, regular form of flower. 

As a remarkable illustration of the sensitiveness 
of the living protoplasm to external mechanical 
irritation, the following case in which regularity 
was reacquired may interest the reader. Clero- 
dendron is a plant often cultivated in which 
certain caterpillars take up their abode within 
the tubes of the corolla. The irritation induced 
by their presence brings about a hypertrophy of 
the corolla, which now assumes a regular form, 
while the filaments and style are likewise 
affected, becoming thicker than in the normal, 
irregular flower. 

An irregular flower may become regular, not 
by reversion, but by increasing the irregularity, 
which belongs, it may be to one petal only, till 
all the petals are alike ; so that regularity is 
restored, but not the primitive form of the 
flower. This peculiarity is particularly common 
in the calceolaria, toad-flax, and snapdragon, as 


well as other plants. Linnaeus, who observed 
it, called it "Peloria," a word signifying 

We have seen how terminal blossoms are often 
regular; and it will be found that when snap- 
dragons assume this pelorian form, they occur 
as the middle flowers of three-flowered groups 
instead of a raceme, of which the central one 
is regular, while the lateral ones are normal and 
irregular. Though often sterile, Darwin suc- 
ceeded in raising sixteen plants of a pelorian 
variety of snapdragon, artificially fertilised by 
its own pollen, all of which were as perfectly 
pelorian as the parent plant. 

That peloria is due to hypertrophy is also 
seen in the fact that it always arises by multi- 
plication of the normally enlarged organ. Thus, 
in toad-flax and snapdragon, all the petals are 
spurred or pouched; in pelorian larkspurs and 
aconites, it is the spurred and hooded sepals 
which are repeated ; and in papilionaceous 
flowers of the Leguminous family, it is the 
standard which is multiplied five times, etc. 
Moreover, an abnormal increase in the number 
of petals and stamens often occurs in pelorian 
pelargoniums, horse-chesnut, etcx 



The ancients knew of the necessity of pollin- 
ating the date-palm and some other trees of 
which the sexes are separated ; for Pliny thus 
wrote in the first century, A.D., copying from 
Theophrastus of the 4th, B.C. — 1 'The more intelli- 
gent inquirers into the operations of nature state 
that all trees, or rather all plants belong to either 
one sex or the other ; and this manifests itself in 
no tree more than in the Palm." The Persians 
also fertilised the Turpentine tree. But they often 
called two varieties or species of a plant male or 
female, without any reference to the structure 
of the flowers, whatever; so that in the case of 
Mercury the real male plant was called female 
and vice versa ! 

The knowledge of the true functions of the 
stamens and pistil appears to have been lost or at 
least unknown in the middle ages ; though Bacon 
being familiar with Greek and Roman literature 
quotes the above suspicion that all plants were 
sexual. It was recorded of Sir T. Millington, Pro- 
fessor of Botany in Oxford, that he was the first 
since Bacon's time to point out the true functions 
of the stamens and pistil. Even cross-fertilisation 
had been previously suspected, as Perdita in " The 
Winter's Tale" speaks of i i streaked gilliflowers, 
which some call Nature's Bastards." Prof. Bradley 
of Cambridge, in 1725, describes varieties which 



were fertile when crossed, but he thought hybrids 
between two species, like mules, were always in- 
fertile. He describes the inflorescences of the 
hazel, which he rightly thought was pollinated 
by the wind ; while bi-sexual flowers he regarded 
as being always self-fertilised. Insect agency in 
pollinating was not perceived until Sprengel pub- 
lished his work full of interesting illustrations in 
1793. The pursuit of this subject was not followed 
until Darwin took it up and published his work 
on "The Fertilisation of Orchids," in 1862; and 
subsequently, his "Cross and Self -Fertilisation 
of Plants," in 1876. 

Here, unfortunately, he was led to misinterpret 
certain facts. Self-fertilisation was formerly 
thought to be universal ; but Darwin drew a pre- 
cisely opposite conclusion and said that " Nature 
abhors perpetual self-fertilisation." Mr Grant 
Allen, following Darwin, says in his " Story of the 
Plants," of plants which fertilise themselves: — 
" Such flowers are almost always poor and degen- 
erate kinds, the unsuccessful in the race, the out- 
casts and street arabs of plant civilization." 1 
This is really so misleading that I must try to 
explain the true state of the case; I will then 
illustrate the disadvantages to flowers in having 
to depend upon the capricious visits of insects, 
and the great advantages in being independent of 
them ; for all idea of " injuriousness " arising from 
self-fertilisation, as Darwin imagined, is without 
any basis of fact. 

1 P. 91. For various methods of pollination of flowers, 
I must here refer the reader to his chapters on ' ' Marriage 


The first thing to be noticed is that flowers 
specially adapted to be crossed are conspicuous or 
scented or attractive in some way or other to 
these insect visitors. On the other hand regularly 
self-fertilised flowers are quite unattractive, being 
minute and devoid of scent and honey. We often 
call them "weeds," as groundsell, shepherd's- 
purse, chickweed, black solanum, etc., etc. As to 
the relative abundance, these latter far surpass 
the former : and if such weeds be allowed to grow 
in a garden, they soon prove to be masters of the 
situation and smother the others. They are often 
annuals and small, and of no beauty ; but as a 
healthy life and to bear plenty of seed is all that 
concerns plants themselves ; it is very easy to see 
that they are by far the best off. 

Crossing acts as a temporary stimulus ; conse- 
quently it is an invaluable aid to florists, who 
raise " finer " plants, more beautiful and variously 
coloured flowers, etc., thereby rendering them 
more marketable : but they cannot hold their 
own in a severe struggle for life with the self- 
fertilising weeds. Common experiences have 
shown that Darwin was quite wrong in this 
respect. Moreover, Darwin's experiments, carried 
on in a few cases for some years, proved that the 
stimulus of crossing might enhance the size and 
fertility for a time ; but it gradually lessened till 
the self-fertilised plant (i.e. artificially so pol- 
linated) beat the " intercrossed " in every way. 
Thus, for example, with Ipomcea purpurea (called 
Convolvulus major by gardeners), taking 100 to 
represent the heights of the "crossed plants," 1 

1 I.e. plants raised from the seeds of crossed plants. 


they were in the second year as 100 : 76 for the 
self-fertilised, and in the third year the proportion 
was as 100 : 68. But when we take the nine 
years in groups of three each, and get triennial 
averages; the result was as follows: — 100:74; 
100 : 78 ; 100 : 82. Hence the average ratio was 
becoming approximately equal to unity as the 
generations went on. 

Similarly with fertility. The first two genera- 
tions were as 100 : 93 ; the next two as 100 : 94 ; 
the fifth gives 100 : 107, and the eighth as 100 to 
114. Hence self-fertilisation is better than inter- 
crossing in the long run. We shall see that there 
are other features corroborating this. 

Now for a few words on the inconveniences 
connected with specialized flowers. Flowers well 
expanded and visible to insects, with the honey 
exposed, as might be anticipated, receive most 
visitors. But the aconite, with a very irregular 
flower, is visited by humble-bees only ; whereas 
the buttercup is visited by more than sixty species 
of insects. Moreover, while the former cannot 
fertilise itself, for the stamens have shed their 
pollen before the stigmas are ready, the latter 
can do so. Again, most orchids are so constructed 
that the pollen-masses cannot reach the stigma 
spontaneously at all; and they set no seed if 
un visited. A Dendrobium, growing wild in 
Australia, bore 40,000 blossoms, but only one 
pod was produced. Yet those orchids which are 
adapted to fertilise themselves, as our own Bee- 
ophrys, set seed abundantly. 

The ordinary flowers of the violet do not set 
seed : but numerous " buds " which never open 


are formed on runners concealed beneath the 
leaves. These set an abundance of seed, and are 
therefore called " cleistogamous," a word signify- 
ing " concealed unions." They have stamens and 
a pistil, but no corolla. 

Lastly, tracing the distribution of plants over 
the world, the regularly insect-visited plants of 
Great Britain and Europe are more or less re- 
stricted in range through the northern hemi- 
sphere ; whereas numerous weeds are well nigh 
cosmopolitan, even throughout the southern 

Now Darwin admitted that he had neglected to 
study these insignificant looking weed-like plants, 
so that we must reverse his dictum, and look 
upon them with a more favourable eye, and not 
be misled by what may seem to us to be " fine " 
and "beautiful," and therefore necessarily must 
be the best thing for plants to be. 

Mr G. Allen has given so many examples of 
"marriage customs " among flowers that I do not 
wish to trespass on his grounds, but rather to fill 
up one or two gaps. One is to show how, in 
making flowers adaptable to insects, Nature has 
brought into play ordinary mechanical forces ; 
the other point is to give a few instances of 
special adaptations to secure self-fertilisation, as 
these are often as interesting as those for crossing. 

As one of the many examples of "springs" 
we may take the stamens of the Lucerne. 1 
The little pea-like flower offers, as usual, the 
keel-petals and wings, which are firmly locked 

1 Any other species of Medicago to which this belongs 
will do. 


together, as a landing-place, as they project 
horizontally forwards ; but the moment a bee 
alights the tension of the spring is overcome, 
and the petals drop ; at the same time the 
included stamens rise up forcibly and dash the 
pollen on to the bee. 

In a tropical genus of orchids known as Cata- 
setum the pollen-mass has a curved stalk held in 
position till a bee comes. She liberates it, when 
it immediately flies out and is fixed by a gummy 
disk at the base on her back. If released arti- 
ficially it will fly off to a distance of two or three 
feet. It might be called "the catapult action." 1 

Levers occur frequently. The "third" kind, 
as it is called, is seen in decimate stamens of 
the horse-chesnut and rhododendron, as described 
in the last chapter. The weight of the bee on 
the projecting ends of the filaments is similar to a 
weight held out at arm's length in the hand. 
This is by far the commonest arrangement. 

The " first" kind of lever is best illustrated by 
the stamens of the sage, 2 described in the last 
chapter ; and some species of Calceolaria ; 3 in 
which there are only two stamens ; the filament 
is very short; but the "connective" between 
the anther cells is drawn out into a short rod, 
the upper end carrying one cell, and the lower 
end, the other. This connective oscillates in a 
vertical plane. The two connectives thus form 

1 This is described and figured in Darwin's work, "The 
Fertilisation of Orchids." 

2 Any species of Salvia to which the sage belongs will 
show it. 

3 Calceolaria Pavonii. 


two levers. When a bee alights on the " slipper," 
her head depresses the lower arm; the upper 
arm then swings forward and brings the polleni- 
ferous anther down upon her back, where the 
stigma will first strike it, and so receive the 
pollen from a previously visited flower. 

In the scarlet-runner we find a lever and a 
screw combined. The keel petals instead of 
being straight, have a rectangular bend, and their 
extremities twisted spirally. The pistil, which is 
included within them, has its style coiled in a 
corresponding manner. Just below the stigma 
is a tuft of hair upon the style. On looking at 
an expanded flower from the front, it will be 
noticed that the wing petal on the left is smaller 
than the right one, and that the orifice of the 
spirally coiled keel projects over the left or 
smaller of the two wings. The bee alights upon 
the smaller, her weight depresses the keel, thus 
acting like a lever, the spirally-twisted style 
passes up the screw, sweeps out the pollen, and 
deposits it on the bee. The reader must take an 
early opportunity of examining a flower; the 
process is easily imitated if he raise and depress 
the left petal with his finger and thumb, when 
the stigma will protrude and retire as he depresses 
and raises the wing petal. 

With regard to special adaptations to secure 
self-fertilisation, this is best seen in cleisto- 
gamous buds, as of the violet balsam, and wood- 
sorrel ; but many flowers become self-fertilising 
in inclement weather, as the chickweed, which then 
often fails to open its buds, though in fine weather 
the little white flowers are fully expanded. 


Self-fertilisation is often secured by an inflection 
of the style, so as to bring the stigma into actual 
contact with the anthers. Buttercups illustrate 
one of the many cases of flowers being both 
capable of being crossed, but equally able to 
fertilise themselves on the other hand. 

The stamens may at first spread away from the 
pistil; but afterwards bend over it) so that if it 
have not been crossed the flower can be assured 
of self-fertilisation, as with the hawthorn, etc. 

A very common result in conspicuous flowers 
usually visited and crossed by insects, is that 
the stamens are stimulated more rapidly into 
maturity than the pistil. The consequence is 
that the pollen is mostly or entirely shed before 
the stigma is ready to receive it as in Aconite. 
Such flowers are called " protandrous " (i.e. males 
first). This is obviously another great disad- 
vantage to such flowers, in case the insects fail 
to come. 

Now various causes may reduce the time be- 
tween the maturation of the anthers and the 
stigmas. When this occurs, the flower at once 
becomes perfectly self-fertile. In some cases, in- 
deed, the pistil matures first, and so is in readi- 
ness to receive it, as soon as the pollen escapes. 
Such a flower is called " protogynous " (i.e. 
female first). Another hindrance to a ready ferti- 
lisation in the absence of insects is a dimorphic 
condition ; the plant having two kinds of flowers, 
as has the primrose, the blossoms on different 
plants being called ' ' thrum-eyed " and "pin-eyed." 
In the former the five anthers protrude from the 
corolla-tube, in the latter the globular stigma is 


only seen at the orifice. In the former the style is 
very short, and so are the stamens in the latter. 1 
If an insect visit either kind, the pollen is 
caught at a particular spot on the proboscis, 
which is touched by the stigma of the other 

Under cultivation, and sometimes when wild, 
the flowers become " bomomorphic," i.e. of the 
same form ; the anthers now standing at the level 
of the stigma. The difficulty of pollination is 
overcome and self-fertility ensues. 

In the species of wood-sorrel which was sent 
to Malta in 1806, the flowers are trimorphic ; 
but only one of the three forms arrived. It has 
never been known to set seed in the northern 
hemisphere at all ; but has overcome the diffi- 
culty by propagating itself by little bulbs. By 
this means it has spread all round the Mediter- 
ranean Sea as already observed. 

Our purple loosestrife is another instance of 
trimorphism. The stamens and styles are of 
three lengths in as many flowers, and always on 
separate plants, respectively. Each pistil has 
two sets of stamens to match it. Darwin found 
that the " mid-styled " form was the most fertile, 
but when the tallest pistil (long-styled form) was 
artificially fertilised by pollen from the shortest 
stamens or vice versa, little or no seed was pro- 

Though this common species of Lythrum is 
trimorphic, another is dimorphic, and a third is 
homomorphic and self-fertile. 

1 For further details, see Grant Allen's 41 Story of the 
Plant," p. 107. 


In a species of Dead-nettle, 1 the flower in 
summer is usually completely expanded ; but it 
often happens in early spring that the corolla 
does not open. When this is the case the 
forked stigma is curled back and lies between 
the anthers and is readily self-fertilised. The 
same thing occurs in some species of sage. 

In the deserts near Cairo, insects are exceed- 
ingly rare. The consequence is that the flowers 
of such plants as grow in the dry watercourses 
are all self-fertilising; though belonging to fami- 
lies, which, in other countries have conspicuous 
flowers and plenty of insects to visit them. 

Thus the genus Cassia, the leaves of some 
species of which constitute the drug, Senna, 
belongs to the Pea-family and usually has large 
yellow flowers adapted to receive the visits of 
insects ; but there is a species, C. obovata, the 
flowers of which are very inconspicuous, greenish 
and rarely open. There is a long style which is 
doubled back upon the ovary, the stigma lying 
among the anthers. The flower is, in fact, al- 
most cleistogamous. 

The general conclusion arrived at by a study 
of the plants of the desert, is, that flowers which 
have been adapted to insects, and therefore en- 
dowed with conspicuous and brightly coloured, 
often irregular corollas, honey and other details, 
have to a great degree lost these features by a 
degenerating process. For if those structures 
which are correlated with insects were originally 
brought into existence by these visitors them- 
selves, as I have endeavoured to prove, and if 
1 Lamium amplexicaule. 


they be not " kept up " by the constantly applied 
stimulus of their visits, then the protandry, so 
general in conspicuous flowers, gives way, homo- 
gamy follows, and self-fertilisation is the final 
result, coupled with numerous degradations in 
all the floral organs. 

I must now add a few remarks upon honey 
glands which attract insects. 

Bees and other insects visit flowers for tne sake 
of the honey or pollen or both ; the pollen being 
made into " bee-bread " for the grubs to live upon, 
as it is a highly nutritious substance ; but with 
regard to honey the question might be asked why 
is it formed at all 1 It has been suggested that 
it is an excretion of superfluous matter; but 
it is a purely carbonaceous substance being only 
a mixture of glucose or non-crystallizable sugar, 
and of the crystallizable cane sugar. Now sugar 
is the material into which starch, when made in 
the leaves, is converted to render it transmissible 
over the plant. As soon as it arrives at the grow- 
ing parts it is converted into cellulose of which 
the cell-walls are constructed ; so instead of honey 
being a waste product, it is really a valuable 
building material. 

I have already observed that the honey-glands 
in a flower are always situated just where an in- 
sect can best reach them. If the flower be regular 
then the glands are situated regularly round the 
flower ; e.g. one on each petal of the butter- 
cup, five glands on the receptacle of geranium ; a 
regular circular honey-trough in the raspberry, 
etc. But in irregular flowers it has particular 
sites only, usually on the anterior side, if a flower 


is visited from the front, as may be easily seen in 
the dead-nettle or other labiate, Orchids, etc. 

Secondly, when a flower reverts to self-fertil- 
isation, the honey may be no longer secreted at 
all. The honey-secreting buckwheat may be 
compared with its ally the honey less knotgrass. 

The conclusion is, that the honey-glands have 
resulted from the irritation of the proboscis of 
insects ; for they still probe flowers for juices 
even when they do not secrete honey, as in the 
spurs of our common orchids ; and flowers which 
produce no honey in England, may do so in 
other countries. Thus we are told that the 
laburnum has produced a honey-gland outside 
the closed staminal tube in Germany, and that 
they are developed on the sides of the carpels of 
the marsh marigold. Here, however, there is 
nothing of the sort, these flowers not being 
visited by bees as they are on the continent. 

Honey-glands, or nectaries as they are called 
if on floral organs, may be situated anywhere. 
Thus, each sepal of the lime blossom forms a 
little boat-shaped structure, which becomes full 
of honey. In the buttercup family, it is the 
petals which are more or less modified to form 
nectaries, as the spurred petals of larkspur, and 
" crosiers" in the aconite, little tubular honey- 
pots in hellebores, etc. In violets, the honey- 
secreting organs are two appendages to the front 
stamens only. In rhododendrons it is the base 
of the ovary which secretes it. In the majority 
of instances it is the floral receptacle which 
bears the glands. If the ovary be inferior, as 
in umbellifers, then the summit of the ovary 


becomes the honey-secreting organ. Such is also 
the case in Canterbury bell, in which the broad 
bases of the filaments form a dome over it. 

It may be mentioned here that honey is not 
confined to organs in flowers, for it may be 
secreted by leaf-stalks and stipules. Bees and 
flies may be seen very actively engaged in 
sucking honey from two glands at the base of 
the leaf-stalks of the common laurel ; while 
beans, vetches, and species of begonia secrete it 
by their stipules. 

That they may have been caused by irritation 
is countenanced by the fact that insects have 
been seen to probe between the sepals and 
stamens of the wood anemone, which secretes 
no honey, for the sake of the juices wherewith 
to moisten the pollen for which they come, so 
that it is feasible to think that this procedure 
was the actual cause of the origin of nectaries, 
the result of a wound constantly repeated and 
kept up, being a flow of a sweet secretion, which 
has thus attracted insects, and induced them tg 
repeat and perpetuate the process. 

Several facts indirectly support the above 
conception ; thus the little adhesive discs at the 
ends of the tendrils of the Virginia creeper are 
not formed till contact has taken place with a 
wall, when the secretion is made to fix them. 
But the tendency to secrete at these spots is 

In the other species from Japan of this same 
genus, the discs are actually formed before con- 
tact. In the case of a mutilation, when it has 
been once made, the place heals over, and there 


is an end of all special vital action at the place. 
If, however, the same place be induced to secrete 
by constantly repeated irritations, as the same 
flower is repeatedly visited over and over again 
before it fades, and the flowers of its offspring 
have to undergo the same process, year after 
year, generation after generation, it is at least a 
reasonable surmise that there will at last be caused 
a permanent flow of fluid to the place, with a 
corresponding modification of structure, and so the 
nectary becomes established and an hereditary 

If, however, from any cause the flowers be- 
come neglected, then the nectaries and glands 
degenerate, and cease to secrete honey, and it 
may be ultimately disappear. 

One of the important adaptations to insects 
resides in the colours of wild flowers. 

When we notice the immense variety and 
shades of colours in wild, and still more in cul- 
tivated, flowers, the questions arise — How did 
they get them? what was the most primitive 
colour ? and if they have been evolved, what was 
the order of their evolution ? 

When we remember that the spore-cases and 
spores of the Club-mosses are yellow — and it was 
from members of some of these higher types 
of Cryptogams that Gymnosperms were evolved 
— and that the anther-cells of Cypress, and the 
whole anther scale of pines, as well as all the 
pollen-grains of Gymnosperms, are yellow ; again, 
when we come to Dicotyledons, and find the 
prevailing tint of stamens is the same, we seem 
to gather probabilities in support of the view 


that, after green, yellow was the primitive 

Nature next, it is believed, introduced reds, 
and only lately, so to say, succeeded in manu- 
facturing first, purples, and lastly blues, if we 
may judge from the comparative rarity of that 
colour. Moreover, when flowers individually 
change from red to blue, as many of the Borage 
family do, such as the lungwort and some species 
of forget-me-nots, etc., it is always in that order. 
It may even start with yellow, as in the case of 
Myosotis versicolor. 

Conversely flowers may revert; and when 
that is the case, yellow is the usual colour 
adopted, as in Chrysanthemums. This is the 
original colour of the wild chrysanthemum of 
Japan or China, a small flower about an inch in 

Pale tints, or a total absence of colour, may 
seemingly occur as a variety of any plant. It 
is often a concomitant of habitual self-fertilisation, 
in cases where the variety or species is a degra- 
dation from some conspicuous and brightly 
coloured insect-visited form. White-flowered 
individuals often appear as " sports" among 
seedlings, and have a peculiar importance to cul- 
tivators. For it has been found that it is useful 
as a starting-point when great variation in the 
colours of flowers is required. Thus, the late 
M. Vilmorin says, that "in ten examples of 
variegation, which were produced under my own 
observation, the course was always the same. 
The original plant, with flowers whole-coloured, 
gave in the first instance a variety of flowers 


entirely white ; afterwards variegations were 
produced from this white variety on its return- 
ing towards the coloured type. By careful 
selection the pure white type can be fixed. It 
is only among the white varieties not completely 
fixed that the variegations make their appear- 
ance ; at first they exhibit narrow pencillings, 
the coloured portion being only one-tenth, and 
sometimes only one-twentieth of the whole 
surface ; but then, in the following generation, 
the coloured portions begin to predominate, 
variegation never coming direct from the coloured 

The value of a white variety is seen in another 
way, in that it seems to induce variations of 
colour by crossing. Thus no hybrids were raised 
from the old bronze-red and striped flowers of 
Abutilon until a white variety appeared, when, 
by crossing it with this, pale and dark pink, pale 
orange, bright carmine, salmon, orange red colours, 
etc., appeared among the flowers of seedlings. 

An analogous feature occurred with Mr Veitch 
in treating his Rhododendrons from the East 
Indies. R. Javanicum has orange coloured flowers, 
but those of the species called B. jasminiflorum, 
from the long, tubular jasmine-like corolla, are 
pure white. When the former was crossed with 
the pollen of the latter, the offspring bore rose- 
coloured flowers. On another occasion, by crossing 
an orange-coloured hybrid with a white flowered 
one, a pure yellow flowered offspring was obtained. 
Hence, one effect of crossing a mixed colour, as 
orange with white, is to exterminate one of the 



But many other forms have been raised of all 
sorts of shades of red and yellow, as well as 
salmon, etc. 

Starting from a primitive yellow, subsequent 
colourations, especially under cultivation, appear 
to be a matter of nutrition, though we cannot yet 
explain how they arise, and we may infer that 
the prevalence of brighter colours in conspicuous 
flowers, which are regularly visited by insects, 
is due to the stimulating effects which they have 
produced, thereby causing more nutritious fluids 
to pour into the attractive organs. 

Besides, however, this general result of brilliant 
colouring, there are those peculiar and special 
displays of bright tints distributed in spots and 
streaks in certain and definite places only. In 
regular flowers they are symmetrically distributed 
on every petal alike, especially at the base, so 
that, as in the Forget-me-not, while the limb of 
the corolla is blue the throat is bright yellow ; 
but in irregular flowers these markings have been 
especially called " guides," for they are invariably 
over and in the direction of the honey-glands, 
being located on one side of the flower only. Thus 
spots commonly occur on the lip, if present, 
but in rhododendrons they are on the opposite 
side, where the insect must thrust its proboscis. 

So that if my theory be true, all these effects 
are simply the direct results of the insects them- 
selves. The guides are always exactly where the 
irritation would be set up; and they would, 
therefore, seem to be a result of a more localised 
flow of nutriment to the positions in question. 

With regard to certain correlations which exist 


between colours and insect visitors, it has been 
observed that beetles affect yellows, as, for ex- 
ample, the meadow-rue, the ladies-bedstraw, and 
the yellow stamens of the rose ; wasps and carrion 
insects appear to prefer the dull reddish-brown 
flowers of Comarum of the Kose family, and the 
Helleborines and Figworts ; while the more in- 
telligent bees, etc., delight in purples and blues ; 
and it has been thought that their selective 
agency has determined the survival of such special 
colours as they prefer. This has been probably 
the case, but we still want to know what«is the 
immediate cause which induces one colour to 
change or give place to another. 

As an illustration of the relative effects of cross- 
ing and self-fertilisation respectively on the pro- 
duction of colours, Darwin tells us that the flowers 
produced by self-fertilised plants of the fourth 
generation of carnations were as uniform in tint 
as those of a wild species, being of a pale pink 
or rose colour. Analogous cases occurred with 
the monkey-flower and convolvulus major of 
gardeners. On the other hand, the flowers of 
plants raised from a cross with a fresh stock 
which bore dark crimson flowers varied exceed- 
ingly in colour. The great majority had their 
petals longitudinally and variously striped with 
two colours. The reader will recall Perdita's 
observations on " striped gilliflowers," quoted 

Uniformity and paleness are thus correlated 
with self-fertilisation ; and since, whenever the 
latter process is persevered with, an increase of 
fertility follows, it is not surprising to find that 


such tints are usually accompanied by an increased 
power of seed-bearing. Thus Darwin found that 
the proportional number of seeds per capsule pro- 
duced by the plants of carnations of crossed 
origin to those by the plants of self-fertilised 
origin was as 100:125. Again, of snapdragon, 
the relative self-fertility of red and white varieties 
was as 9*8 : 20; of the yellow and pale varieties 
of monkey-flower, the same comparison gave 
the ratio of 100 : 147. Lastly, pale flowered 
varieties of the scarlet geranium (Pelargonium) 
are notoriously great seeders. 

Enough has now been said, it is hoped, to 
convince the reader that self-fertilisation is after 
all the most serviceable process to plants. If it be 
asked why have flowers become so wonderfully 
adapted to insects, the answer is that they cannot 
help themselves. The living protoplasm acts 
automatically and is compelled by its innate powers 
of adaptation to respond to the insect visitors, 
and the best result possible follows. 

Man derives the benefit, for it has opened out 
an unlimited source of joy to him in vastly en- 
hancing the beauties of nature ; but, as we have 
seen, the "ends" of plant-life have been some- 
what sacrificed for the result. 

The adaptations to secure self-pollination are 
quite as curious as those for intercrossing, though 
they are often the results of degradation, as 
the process can be traced from intercrossed and 
showy flowers. I will here enumerate their 
principal features of degradation : — 

1, The inconspicuousness of the flowers, even 
when fully expanded. 


2. The calyx and corolla are often only partially 
expanded, or not at all. 

3. The white or pale colours of the corollas, 
while specially coloured streaks, specks, "guides," 
and "path-finders" peculiar to intercrossed flowers 
are more or less reduced, if not absent. 

4. The partial or total arrest of the corolla. 

5. The mature stamens of the expanded flower 
retain in many cases the incurved, i.e. an arrested 
position which they had in bud ; the anthers 
thus remaining in contact with the stigmas. 

6. The stamens are often reduced in size and 
number, and the pollen in quantity. 

7. The pollen-tubes may often be seen to be 
penetrating the stigmas, either from grains within 
the anther-cells or evidently derived from those 
of the same flower. 

8. The partial arrest of the corolla and stamens 
in their rates of development, allows the pistil to 
mature with comparative rapidity. 

9. The consequent early maturation of the 
stigma, so as to be ready before or simultaneously 
with the dehiscence of the anthers. 

10. Little or no scent. 

11. Decrease in the size or total absence 
of honey-glands, with consequent little or no 
secretion of honey. 



I HAD occasion to speak of the origin of petals 
out of stamens, as shown by water-lilies, in which 
a perfect transition always occurs from one to 
the other. 

Our garden plants and sometimes wild flowers 
are what is called " double,'' that is to say the 
stamens and carpels or both may be all replaced 
by petals, and in addition it is usual for them to 
be multiplied. Thus the wild stock has four petals, 
six stamens and a pistil of two carpels ; but in 
a double flower of this plant, I have counted 
fifty-two petals and others which were still unde- 
veloped in the middle. The flower, in fact, had 
tried to change from a " flower-bud w to a " leaf- 
bud," but consisting of petals instead of leaves. 
However, flower-buds can take on a further stage 
backwards and actually have all their members 
green. In such flowers the corolla may remain 
of exactly the same shape as when normally 
coloured, but quite green. It is then called 
" virescent." Such is not infrequently the case 
with blossoms of the honeysuckle which come out 
late in the season, when the weather is cold. A 
greater change occurs when the various organs, 
carpels, stamens, petals and sepals become actu- 
ally replaced by true green leaves, though small 
in size. This is the case with the " green rose," 
sometimes cultivated as a curiosity, for it cannot 



boast of any beauty. The alpine strawberry has 
the same metamorphosis. 

It often happens that the change is not com- 
pleted, so that a stamen for example, may be re- 
placed by a narrow green leaf still carrying a 
yellow anther along one side of it ; or a carpel 
may be leaf-like above, but resembling an open 
pea-pod below, etc. 

These abnormal cases indicate attempts at a 
reversion to primeval conditions ; for it is an 
accepted doctrine that sepals, petals, stamens 
and carpels are really " homologous " with true 
leaves. That is to say, they and leaves are 
fundamentally the same thing, only each has 
grown up into the special organ required where 
it issues from the stem. 

Now, among the freaks of flowers, any organ 
can, we might almost say, try to assume the form 
and function of any other. They do not always 
do it successfully, especially when sepals and 
petals make an abortive effort to turn themselves 
into stamens and carpels, for all they can effect 
is the production of abortive pollen and ovules. 

Thus, to give a few examples, the calyx, being 
the outermost whorl of a flower, and the pistil the 
innermost, it would seem to be a difficult thing for 
the former to imitate the latter and bear ovules. 
A few instances have been met with, however, 
as in a certain garden pea, the five points on the 
top of the coherent calyx-tube grew out into 
styles and stigmas, while the lower part bore rudi- 
mentary ovules on the open edges ; there being 
no attempt to close it up like a pod (Fig. 51). 

The corolla coming next to the calyx seems an 


easier organ to imitate. Indeed some such freaks 
are cultivated. Thus in campanulas, the so-called 
"cup and saucer " variety is one in which, while 
the cup is the usual corolla, 
the saucer is a " petaloid " 1 

The monkey-flower, prim- 
rose and a form of Azalea 
are others which bear, what 
the gardeners call " hose- 
in-hose " flowers. They 
apparently have two per- 
fect corollas one within the 
other ; but in reality the 
outer is the calyx assuming 
all the characters, colour and Fl % a 5 1 ^~ P p S e t a noid Calyx of 
shape, of a second corolla. 

We have seen that petals were originally 
formed out of stamens ; because the first flowers 
had only stamens and pistils, and no corolla at all. 
In some freaks the corolla tries to turn itself 
back into stamens. Thus a fox-glove instead of 
having its usual tubular corolla, this was split up 
into ribbon-like pieces, all united below, each 
piece bearing an anther at the top (Fig. 52). 
Another case occured in a Campanula ; while the 
tubular honey-bearing spurs of a columbine have 
been known to produce pollen. • 

A still stranger attempt at metamorphosis 
occurs when stamens actually become carpels. 
Thus, where wallflowers are extensively grown 
for the London market, there is always a number 
of " rogues " in the fields. These are useless for 
1 That is " petal-like." 


sale, as they bear no corollas and remain like un- 
opened buds ; but there is a curious malformation, 
in that the six stamens are all changed into carpels, 
being mostly more or less united together and 
bearing rudimentary ovules ; these, however, 
never appear to ripen into 
seeds. It is very doubtful if 
they could ever be fertilised; 
so too, poppies which have 
numerous stamens and a gobular 
pistil in their midst not infre- 
quently bear a ring of abortive, 
miniature carpels round the 
central pistil. They are really 
metamorphosed stamens. 
Lastly, all sorts of abortive 
attempts can be found in 
* I %rous~OT<5ia in of Begonias. Sometimes the an- 
Foxgiove. thers are partially converted 

into stigmas ; or petals will bear anthers or 
ovules ; sometimes both on the same petal, which 
may still retain its normal colour, etc. 

Pistils which are composed of one or more 
carpels, can be sometimes replaced by other 
structures, as petals or leaves, as stated above ; 
but even the ovules can put on strange altera- 
tions ; thus, those of a passion-flower have been 
known to contain pollen instead of an embryo ; 
or anthers may replace them ; as occurs in 
willows, etc. (Fig. 53) or a complete flower- 
bud, which, on expansion, splits the ovary, and a 
tuft of petals emerge. This occurs occasionally 
in the lady's smock (Fig. 54). 

These freaks cannot be explained ; we can 


Fig. 53. — Unclosed ovaries with 
anthers instead of ovules, a. 
Willows ; b. lesser Celandine. 

attempt to express it without in the least under- 
standing the " how," by saying that the life of 
a plant expends its energy normally, in different 
ways, as in making 
roots, leaves, and 
flowers. Of these last, 
some energy is deputed 
to make sepals, other to 
make petals, stamens or 
carpels, respectively. 
But, by some inexplic- 
able cause, the " special 
energy " required for, 
say, petal-making gets 
confused with that re- 
quired for making som e- 
thing else, and the two 
seem to clash and so 
spoil the work between 
them ! Thus, in double- 
flowers, the petal- 
making energy over- 
powers that for making 
stamens, invades its 
territory and makes the 
initial protuberances 

grOW Up into petals Fig. 54.— Petals replacing Ovules. 

instead of stamens. dend^on. 8 Sm ° ck; Rh ° d °" 

An interesting case 
occurred in the production of double rhodo- 
dendrons. Mr Heal, Mr Veitch's assistant, who 
raised a large number of double forms, observed 
a single flower in a certain truss on a plant to 
have one anther only slightly petaloid. He im- 


pregnated the pistil of the flower with pollen 
from the other anthers of the same flower, this 
process being strict self-fertilisation. About 
fifteen seedings were raised, which bore quite 
or partially double blossoms. 

Sometimes the " colouring-energy," as we may 
call it for want of a better expressiom, which as 
a rule undertakes the enhancement of the con- 
spicuousness of the corolla, spreads to the calyx 
and so we get the ' ' hose-in-hose" flowers. It may 
go further and influence the bracts below the 
flower. Hence in some scarlet-flowering salvias, 
corolla, calyx and bracts are all scarlet. In the 
cactus family (as in epiphyllum) there are numer- 
ous small coloured bracts outside, tracing them 
inwards, they seem to get larger and larger till the 
true petals are reached. There is no break be- 
tween the series until we arrive at the stamens 
which introduce a sudden change of form. In 
several members of the buttercup family, there is 
no corolla at all, the calyx assuming its rdle is 
large and brilliantly coloured. Such is the case 
in clematis, anemone, winter aconite, and the 
marsh marigold. 

In all these instances it will be observed that 
the transference of colours (of course, other 
than green) is a normal condition of things ; but 
it is a freak in the case of the ' ' hose-in-hose " 
varieties, and the " cup and saucer " campanulas. 

In some plants the flowers are very minute, 
and would, both individually and collectively, 
supply little or no attraction to insects. Nature 
has often massed them together into a "head" 
and then rendered it more conspicuous by en- 


larging the outermost or " ray " florets. This 
is the common method ia the great family of 
Composites, as seen in the daisy, with its white 
"ray" florets and small yellow "disk" florets. 1 

In some instances of aggregation of minute 
flowers the outside bracts 
or "involucre" answers 
the purpose. Thus in the 
familiar "everlastings," it 
is the dry or "scarious" 
bracts surrounding the 
heads of florets which are 
white or coloured, and so 
supply the attractive organ. 

There are species of 
cornel which have very 
small flowers in a dense 
cluster, but are only dis- 
coverable by means of four 
large white petal-like bracts 
(Fig. 55). Again, Darwinia 
tulijpifera (Fig. 56), a plant of the Myrtle family 
grown in conservatories, is so called, because it 
might be thought to bear tulips by the appear- 
ance of the flowers. These, however, consist 
of many striped-coloured bracts, yellow and 
red, within which are about a dozen very minute 

A not uncommon freak is to find the characters 
of bracts carried down into the leaves. Thus, 
the large, single, white bract, called a " spathe," 
of the familiar " Trumpet-lily " is occasionally 

1 Mr Grant Allen has described "How plants club 
together," in "The Story of the Plants," chapter x. 

Fig. 55. — Species of Cornel 
with white bracts and 
minute central flowers. 


accompanied by a second. The fact is that a 
second leaf has assumed this form. 

So too, the actual coloration proper to a corolla 
may go down to the leaves. Thus a pelargonium 
happened to bear brilliantly 
coloured leaves, partly 
normally green but partly 

Bracts, being really 
arrested leaves, may re- 
assume a true-leaf char- 

This is often attempted 
in the common plantains, 
and occasionally in the 
umbellifers, etc. What is 
called the Green Dahlia 
is a " head n composed 
entirely of enlarged green bracts, the " florets " 
being all suppressed. 

Similarly the " wheat-eared " carnation con- 
sists of the flower-stalks on which the bracts, 
usually consisting of two pairs at the base of the 
calyx, are multiplied to excess, the true flower 
being entirely wanting. 

Another peculiar change occurs when an ir- 
regular flower becomes regular. One of the com- 
monest plants to effect this alteration is the 
toad-flax. If now all the five petals become 
spurred, then the upper part of the flower 
vanishes, and the "lip" is repeated all round, 
forming a circular rim. Linnaeus called this form 
" Peloria," a word meaning " monstrous. " 

This abnormal condition is exactly like the 

Fig. 56. — Inflorescence of 


normal state of Columbine, all five petals of which 
are spurred. 

But this flower can go backwards, and revert 
to its primitive condition by abolishng all the 
spurs ; when the petals take the form of an 
ordinary leaf-like shape. Thus there is a culti- 
vated form of Columbine in which this occurs. 

The terminal flower of a spike of larkspur, 
aconite, snapdragon, horse-chesnut, etc., as has 
been already observed, not infrequently thus 
reverts to the primitive form. Sometimes, as in 
fox-gloves, two or more flowers become fused 
together and produce a regular bell-shaped struc- 
ture. The late M. Vilmorin, by selecting seeds 
from this curious " monster, " succeeded in " fix- 
ing" it; so that 90 per cent, of the seed came 
true, with the large " synanthic " 1 flower. 

Another instance of a monstrous condition, 
perpetuated by seed, occurs in a forget-me-not, 
which has now been cultivated for some years. 
It was known as " Victoria " and by other names. 
The petals were more than the usual five, in a 
whorl, but not "double." So too, the old- 
fashioned tomato consisted of two or more fruits 
blended into one, having resulted from a synan- 
thic flower. This was the cause of the fruit 
being lobed with deep indentations. 

Fasciation is the result of the multiplication 
and branching of the fibro-vascular cords of the 
flowering-stem or peduncle ; but instead of giving 
rise to external free-growing branches, they are 
all included within a common cortical and epi- 
dermal tissue. Though excessively common, 
1 Grk. syn, " together," and anthos, "a flower." 


especially in asparagus, it is not usually heredi- 
tary ; but is perpetuated by seed in the common 

Another freak occurs when a normally gamo- 
petalous corolla, as of the Canterbury Bell, or 
Convolvulus, reverts to freedom by developing 
the petals separate. A variety of the Hare-bell 
of our heaths was, and perhaps is still cultivated 
with a polypetalous corolla. On the other hand 
a poppy has been known to have its four, usually 
free, petals all coherent into a tube. 

Another peculiarity of corollas, which has 
lately afforded an addition to floriculture, is to 
be "crested." It occurs in cyclamen, begonia, 
daffodil and primula. It results from a branch- 
ing of the fibro-vascular cords, which, unlike 
fasciation, are external to the surface ; and being 
clothed with tissue produce fringes upon it. 
Cabbage-leaves, not infrequently have similar 
excrescences, issuing from the ribs; sometimes 
they run out into long stalks carrying funnel- 
shaped structures at the end of them. 

These fringes are abnormal, but the " cup " or 
"crown" in a daffodil and jonquil, partakes of 
the same nature and is normal. The daffodil 
has all its parts complete, the tube being an 
extra growth. Indeed, the majority of the 
plants belonging to the same family, such as 
the snowdrop and the snowflake, have not got 
one at all. 

The lesson to be learnt from these freaks is, 
that no hard and fast line can be drawn between 
"varieties" and "monsters." Both may or may 
not be hereditary, they may be transient or be- 


come fixed, and so constitute a new variety, or 
if it be preferred a new species. 

If it be asked how or why they occur, at present 
no answer can be given to either question. 



Having now considered certain peculiarities of 
the structure of our wild flowers, the reader may 
like to know something of their history, and to 
understand why some are only found in certain 
places, being often very restricted in their areas. 
The question is — What is it that determines the 
local distribution of plants ? 

Although climate is the most essential element 
to be taken into account when the distribution of 
the plants of any flora is to be considered ; yet as 
that of our own country at the present time is so 
well known, it will be superfluous to describe it 
in detail. 1 All that will be necessary is to com- 
pare it, or rather contrast it generally, as being 
insular and maritime, with that of the Continent ; 

1 The word climate must be taken to represent the aggre- 
gate environment of plants included under : — 1. Latitude ; 
2. Elevation above the sea ; 3. Maritime or insular or con- 
tinental position ; 4. Inclination of land ; 5. Mountainous 
country or otherwise ; 6. Character of soil ; 7. Condition 
of soil, wet or dry, etc. ; 8. Degree of cultivation ; 9. Pre- 
valent winds ; 10. Rainfall; 11. Mean summer and mean 
winter temperatures, etc. 



and then to see what differences may be expected 
to exist between the flora of Great Britain and 
that of Europe. 

The chief difference between all maritime or 
insular and continental climates lies in the pre- 
dominance of moisture 1 in the air of the former 
and in the greater degree of dryness in that of 
the latter. The immediate effect of watery 
vapour is to moderate the heat in summer by 
arresting its passage from the sun, and simi- 
larly to arrest its radiation at night and in 
winter. The consequence is that maritime and 
insular climates are far less subject to extremes 
of temperature, diurnal or annual, than are places 
situate away from a sea-board and many miles in 
the interior of a continent. Another very im- 
portant agent in affecting the climate is the pre- 
valence of aerial and ocean currents; warm in 
ameliorating, cold in deteriorating it, as far as 
the magnitude an I vitality of any flora may be 
concerned. This is particularly the case with 
the British Isles ; for, were it not for the warm 
currents both of air and water sweeping past us 
in a north-easterly direction across the Atlantic 
Ocean, our climate would very likely become as 
inhospitable as is that between the same latitudes 
of North America. 

1 As an illustration of the effect of moisture upon the 
distribution of plants, may be mentioned the fact that 
tropical forms extend into subtropical regions, if damp ; 
as in South America*, e.g., tree-ferns, epiphytal orchids, 
Myrtacece, etc. Similarly the laurel, fig, and bamboo ascend 
the humid extra-tropical mountains of Bengal and Sikkhim 
to 9000 feet ; while on the other hand, a temperate flora, 
consisting of oak, willow, rose, plum, blackberry, pine, etc., 
descends to the sea in lat. 25° in India. — J. D. Hooker. 


Perhaps few places could be better chosen to 
illustrate the above statements than Edinburgh 
and Moscow, both these places being on the same 
parallel of latitude. Thus, while the difference 
between the hottest and coldest months of the 
year is under 30° for Edinburgh, it amounts to 
60° for Moscow; and, it may be added, for Nain, 
on the coast of Labrador, it is 50°, and for Cape 
Churchill, on the west coast of Hudson's Bay, the 
difference is even 80°. All the above places are 
very nearly on the same parallel of latitude. 
Again, if we take winter and summer tempera- 
tures, we find that for July the mean at London 
is over 62° ; at Berlin, 66° \ at St Petersburgh, 64°; 
and at Astrakhan, 77°. While for January at 
London it is 37° ; at Berlin, 28° ; at St Peters- 
burgh, 16° ; and at Astrakhan it is 13°. 

Now, the most obvious effect that such differ- 
ences of temperature have on plants is that a 
continental climate is favourable to annuals and 
a maritime to perennials ; for in places where a 
summer temperature rises high, plants, whose 
whole life-history is comprised in a few months 
or even weeks, may easily, therefore, survive ; 
while the intensely cold winters of the same 
place would annihilate many perennials that 
would flourish in a less rigorous climate. Hence 
evergreen shrubs of South Europe, such as the 
laurustinus and bay laurel, will survive our 
winters, which are rarely excessive, yet the 
climate in summer and autumn is quite insuffi- 
cient in its degree of heat to ripen efficiently 
the grape or Indian corn • for the summers are 
as equally tempered as the winters. 



The British flora, as might, therefore, be ex- 
pected, contains a large amount of perennials, 
especially, perhaps, herbaceous ones. Many- 
annuals, being weeds of cultivation only, would 
be probably more or less exterminated if our 
arable land should cease to be cultivated. 

In reviewing our flora, as a whole, in some 
respects it may be regarded as insular in character, 1 
though in most others it is continental ; that is to 
say, there is no plant which is peculiar to it or 
" endemic " ; and with rare exceptions, every 
member of it belongs to the neighbouring 
continent of Europe. 

Although our British plants are almost all 
European, yet they are not equally or at all 
uniformly distributed over our territory. They 
have, consequently, been divided into sub-floras 
or florulce, each being more or less restricted in 
area. We are indebted mainly to the labours of the 
late Professor Edward Forbes and Mr H. C. Watson 
for tracing out these districts. The following is a 
comparative table of the respective results of these 
eminent botanists, with their nomenclatures : — 

Watson's. Forbes'. 

1. British corresponds with \ 

2. English „ > Germanic. 

3. Scottish „ j 

4. Highland „ Alpine. 

5. Germanic (in part) „ Kentish. 

n Axl f Asturian. 

6. Atlantic „ { A 

" ( Armoncan. 

7. Local or doubtful. 

1 The peculiarities of oceanic insular floras will be con- 
sidered in the second volume. 


That entitled Germanic by Forbes is so called be- 
cause it is identical with the German flora, 
though the latter contains many plants wanting 
in England. This is subdivided by Watson into 
(1) the British, which includes plants found in all 
his eighteen " provinces " ; (2) the English, which 
includes plants found chiefly in England and not 
in Scotland ; and (3) the Scottish, embracing 
plants found chiefly in Scotland and the North 
of England only. The Alpine of Forbes or the 
Highland of Watson includes a group of arctic 
plants found on the Scandinavian mountains and 
on alpine localities, but not in the intermediate 
temperate lowlands. Watson's Germanic takes 
in plants found in the east and south-east of 
England bordering the German Ocean, from 
whence he derives the name, and includes those 
plants called Kentish by Forbes, but which do 
not seem to be deserving of a special name, as 
they are chiefly, if not always, plants affecting a 
limestone or chalky soil, and which, in part, 
occur elsewhere. The Atlantic types of Watson 
embrace plants found in the west and south-west 
of England and in Ireland. In these are included 
the Armorican of Forbes, which is characterised 
by a group of plants found in Normandy, the 
Channel Islands, the S. and S.W. of England, ex- 
tending (in part) some distance along the west 
coast, and in the south-east of Ireland. The 
number of peculiar species continually decreases 
in passing in a north-westerly direction from 
South Europe through Normandy ; so that while 
several which are in the Channel Islands are 
wanting in the south-west of England, others 


which reach that corner failed to cross over to Ire- 
land ; such as the Tamarix, one species of Kock- 
rose ; 1 though another has arrived as far as the 
south and west ; 2 a little Hares'-ear ; 3 the Strap- 
wort 4 and the tiny Polycarpon. 

A portion of this Atlantic type was separated 
by Forbes as " Asturian," because the nearest 
locality on the Continent whence it was pre- 
sumed by him these plants had come was the 
Asturian mountains of north Spain. They con- 
sist of six species of saxifrage, including our 
London Pride ; two heaths, the strawberry tree, 
St Dabeoc's Heath and a rock-cress. 5 

Such is an epitome of our present flora with 
regard to its distribution within our own islands. 
The next thing is to consider its extension 
throughout the world. We have already seen 
that the great bulk of our plants included in 
Watson's British and English types (containing 
about three-fifths of the whole flora) is identical 
with the flora of Germany ; hence Forbes' name 
of Germanic ; while the Atlantic type of Watson 
corresponds more especially with the Norman 
flora and that of the Channel Islands, really a 
fragment of the South European or Mediterranean 
flora ; and if we take note of Forbes' Asturian, 
we find that small and fragmentary sub-flora on 
thl* Asturian Mountains of Spain. There re- 
mains, then, the Highland, Alpine or Arctic type. 
The nearest localities where plants of this group 
are to be found are the Alps, Pyrenees, Scan- 

1 Helianthemum polifolium. 2 IT. gutlatum. 

3 Bupleurum aristatum. 4 Corrigiola litloralis. 

5 Arabis hirsuta, Sub-sp. ciliata. 


dinavian mountains, and arctic regions generally; 
though they are mostly or entirely absent from 
the warmer lowlands which separate such widely- 
severed districts. 

If, however, we now have Europe, and endea- 
vour to find any British plants elsewhere, we 
shall discover small groups of this last type ap- 
pearing here and there in many parts of the 
world. The following numbers w T ill indicate how 
many British plants have been hitherto found in 
the several localities, and will also illustrate the 
fact that the plants of Britain, like His Majesty's 
dominions and subjects, are world-wide in their 
dispersion. Travelling eastwards from the Ural 
Mountains, Siberia contains about 750 British 
plants, and within the area included between the 
River Obi and Behring's Straits, and bounded 
southwards by the Arctic Circle (lat. 66|°), there 
are 111. Kamtskatka contains 140. In North- 
cast Asia, including the area from Behring's 
Straits to South Japan, there are 325, of which 
Japan has 156 British species. 

Next, regarding the extension of our plants 
eastwards along the southern line of mountains, 
Hooker and Thomson give a list of 222 British 
plants which reach India. 1 These appear to have 
travelled eastwards from Europe, finding means 
of transit along the Taurus, Caucasus, and 
western hilly or mountainous regions ; and the 
above authois remark that "the key-stone to 
the whole system of distribution in Western 

1 "Flora Indica," p. 109 (1855). Though others may 
have been discovered since ; the relative proportions 
probably remain much the same. 


Asia does not rest so much upon a number of 
' representative ' species as upon the fact that 
not only are a large proportion of annual and 
herbaceous species of each common to Western 
India and Europe, but of shrubs and trees also. 
Those of Northern Europe inhabit the loftier 
levels of the Himalayas, where they blend with 
the Siberian types." The following British trees 
and shrubs occur in India : — Barberry, bird cherry, 
gean, blackberry, alpine blackberry, hawthorn, 
cotoneaster, white beam, gooseberry, black currant, 
ivy, box, elm, two species of willow, the yew and 
juniper. It may be added that European types 
disappear eastwards gradually at first, but rapidly 
after reaching Kumaon. Few species enter Nepal, 
and still fewer reach Sikkhim. Of the plants which 
cross the Indian mountains and appear in Tropical 
Asia (i.e. India south of the Himalayas, the Khasia 
mountains of Eastern Bengal, together with the 
mountains of both peninsulas of India, Ceylon, 
and Java), the number, as might be expected, is 
much reduced, only 23 species being found there. 

The next distributions to be considered are 
along the three greatest lines of extension of 
land into the southern hemisphere — Australia, 
Tasmania, New Zealand, and the islands to the 
south ; secondly, from Europe, through Africa 
and the islands near the coast to the Cape; 
thirdly, from Greenland and arctic America to 
Cape Horn; lastly, the isolated spots in Poly- 
nesia, which can boast of a few representatives 
of the British flora. 

I. Of the first of these extensions South Aus- 
tralia contains 100 indigenous plants common to 


Great Britain, in addition to which a large number 
have become naturalised ; Tasmania contains 
56, New Zealand has 92, and Kerguelen's Land, 
8 ; while Auckland and Campbell Islands possess 
6. A curious fact worth notice is that in South- 
eastern Australia, European species form ^rth 
nearly of the whole flora ; but in South-western 
Australia they constitute xoo^ 1 only \ while in 
Tasmania they amount to i^th. In Tasmania the 
following British plants occur, which are not found 
in Australia : Water-Crowfoot, Blinks and Holy 
Grass. On the other hand, the Victoria Alps of 
Australia contain fifteen European species not 
found in Tasmania, and all but one are British 

II. With regard to the extension of British 
plants from Europe to the Cape, commencing with 
Morocco we find 344 present there, while in 
northern Africa generally, which is largely "Medi- 
terranean" in character, there are 420 British 
plants. North-east Africa and Abyssinia appear 
to yield about 90 British species. On the west 
coast of Africa, the little island of Fernando Po 
in the Gulf of Guinea was found to contain, on 
"Clarence Peak," at above 5000 feet elevation, 
76 species of plants, of which number 56 species 
of 45 genera belong to a temperate flora. Their 
affinity is curiously much more with the plants of 
Abyssinia and of the Mauritius than with those 
of the adjacent west coast of Africa ! Of the 
temperate flora a large proportion are European, 
and the following seven are British : — A yellow 
flowered wood-sorrell, wood sanicle, cleavers, 
mudwort, tufted aira, wood-rush, and slender 


false-brome grass. Of the South African flora, 
including the portion of land from the Tropic of 
Capricorn to the Cape, 27 species are British. 

III. In the third great extension of land, Green- 
land contains 210 (Iceland has 335), while British 
plants abound in arctic British America, as in 
Siberia, even Parry's Island (76° North latitude) 
containing 32. The number decreases as the 
warmer regions are reached ; thus Mr Drummond 1 
records only 40 British plants in the Western 
States. In tropical America (including the tem- 
perate and alpine regions of the Cordillera from 
Mexico to Peru) there are 35 British plants, of 
which the following eight are common with 
tropical Asia : — hairy bittercress, wood starwort, 
chickweed, ceratophyll, persicaria, polygonum, 
toad-rush, lake scirpus, and common reed. In 
extra-tropical South America, however, there are 
no less than 64 British species, while in Fuegia 
and the Falkland Islands there are 24. Of the 
British plants common to these three greatest 
extensions of land there are common to Australia, 
etc., and Africa, 17^ common to Australia and 
South America, 35 ; common to South Africa and 
South America, 19; common to all three exten- 
sions, 15. Lastly there have been found a few 
British plants in islands of the Pacific Ocean. 
Thus, the Society Islands contain 3 ; the Sand- 
wich, 5 ; and Fiji, 16 species. 

If now we attempt to find an explanation 10 
the fact of so many plants thoroughly establishing 
themselves in foreign countries, there are two 
features which strike us as worthy of observance. 
1 Hooker's " Journal of Botany," vol. i, p. 185, 



One peculiarity is that plants do not always 
flourish best where Nature has, so to say, made 
their home, but in consequence of the struggle 
for existence they hold their position as long as 
other plants will let them grow, so that the flora 
of any locality under normal and existing circum- 
stances has, so to say, long ago arrived at a con- 
dition of equilibrium of mutual adjustment. If, 
however, plants be suddenly transported to other 
countries, they sometimes at once assume astonish- 
ing vigour, and for a long time at least gain great 
ascendency over the native vegetable population. 
This was conspicuously so in New Zealand, where 
the English water-cress grows to twelve feet in 
length, and three-quarters of an inch in thick- 
ness ; while a single plant of Knotgrass will cover 
several square feet, and the little Dutch clover is 
driving the huge " New Zealand flax " before it ! 
Similarly does the Canadian Elodea flourish in Eng- 
land, though we possess the female plant only. It 
would seem, therefore, that the change of climate 
has somehow introduced new and invigorating 
elements into their constitution, which the native 
flora cannot acquire, having been so long adapted 
to it. This appears to be one cause of introduced 
plants so readily establishing themselves. Another 
is that these sporadic plants, being generally in- 
conspicuous annuals and self -fertilising, are inde- 
pendent of insects ; so that they survive in the 
struggle for existence over their more showy 
brethren, which cannot propagate fully by seed 
unless habitually visited. 

In a previous chapter on the " Fertilisation of 
Plants " I have shown how this is the case ■ but 


would just illustrate it by mentioning a few of 
the most widely dispersed of our British plants. 
The hairy Bittercress is found in north-east Asia, 
tropical Asia, Hong-Kong, Kamtskatka, Chili, 
South Australia, Auckland and Campbell's Islands, 
Falkland and Fuegia, Tasmania, South Africa, 
New Zealand, Madeira, etc. Similarly is the 
Mouse-Ear Chick weed dispersed over the same 
area. The black Solanum is also found in Cali- 
fornia, South Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, 
Society Islands, Andaman Isles, North China, 
Japan, Galapagos Islands, etc. 

Having now considered the present distri- 
bution of the British Flora, we have to account 
for it as far as possible ; and here theory must 
supplement facts. In looking back to discover a 
historical or rather geological origin of our 
present flora, we soon find that there have been 
very remarkable changes in the characters of 
successive floras that peopled our country. 
Going no farther back than the Eocene period — 
for attempts at deductions as to climatal con- 
ditions become more and more uncertain in pro- 
portion as the faunae and florae are more remote 
in time from and unlike their living represent- 
atives — we find tolerably certain evidence that 
the climate of England at that time was tropical, 
at least so far as palms, Mimosce, Nipadites, on 
the one hand, and turtles, crocodiles, and large 
water snakes on the other, justify us in drawing 
such a conclusion. This period, then, could not 
have seen the origin of our present temperate 
and arctic floras. The next epoch, the Miocene, 
likewise fails to furnish any members of it. The 


flora of this period was subtropical, but probably 
became less and less so as the next — the Pliocene 
epoch — drew near. The Miocene flora is remark- 
able for its great extent. Not only are remains 
of plants to be found in England, as at Bovey 
Tracey in Devonshire, but at many places on the 
Continent ; and what is still more remarkable, it 
is found to have extended all over the Arctic 
regions — as at Disco Island, Greenland, arctic 
North America, etc. In all these places such 
plants as vines, custard apples, figs, cinnamons, 
the lotus of the East, water-lilies, and the 
ubiquitous " Wellingtonia " 1 are to be found. 
This shows, therefore, that there must have been 
a very different state of things in the Northern 
hemisphere then from what obtains now. The 
preceding flora had its day, flourished, and then 
passed away for ever, A colder period drew 
on. This is signalized in our country by the 
celebrated Cromer Forest, and the peat or lignite 
beds on the north coast of Norfolk. 2 These are 
overlaid by a steep cliff of "glacial deposits." 
The flora of these beds is identical with the 
existing one ; that is to say, the Scotch fir, 
accompanied by the Norway spruce (now extinct, 
but re-introduced), both our water-lilies, the 
buckbean, alder, etc., then flourished, but with 

1 This genus is better known to botanists as Sequoia, and 
the species S. Couttsice is found at Bovey Tracey ; two 
species only now exist, S. sempervirens (red- wood) and S. 
gigantea, both being confined to California. 

2 Whether the temperate period indicated by these plant- 
beds preceded the ** Glacial" epoch, or represent inter- 
glacial milder periods, is perhaps at present undecided by 


the strange companions of Elephas meridionalis, 
many Cervi, the Rhinoceros, the great Bos primi- 
genius, the Irish elk, and other extinct animals. 

The reduction of temperature (for the forest- 
beds indicate as temperate a climate as our own), 
seen by comparing it with that of the preceding 
Miocene period, was the antecedent condition 
to an arctic or glacial state of things shortly to 
follow, or "the Great Ice Age." The evidence 
of this, as derived from plants, is seen in the 
presence of an arctic willow, Salix polaris, found 
in a deposit over-lying the subtropical Miocene 
beds at Bovey Tracey. 

Now, as England is at present temperate, and 
an arctic flora reigns over high latitudes simul- 
taneously with it, so does it seem probable that 
such was the state of things, if not before, at 
least soon after the close of the Glacial Epoch ; 
that when the Cromer Forest flourished, an arctic 
flora prevailed simultaneously with it in high 
latitudes. As however, the ice continued to 
increase southwards, and the land in all latitudes 
was encroached upon and rendered unfit for such 
plants to inhabit, they were driven southwards 
down every meridian, from the arctic regions. 
The long line of mountains in America, forming 
an unbroken bridge of transport, enabled many 
to cross the tropics and so reach the extra-tropical 
regions of South America. Mr Belt discovered 
signs of " glaciation " in Nicaragua down to 2000 
feet above the sea, apparently showing that there 
was a "cooling" going on at least locally in the 
tropical regions, which would seem to dispose of 
the difficulty of arctic plants crossing the torrid 


zone. Similarly in the eastern hemisphere, 
assuming the land to have been continuous, and 
there are solid reasons for believing it to have 
been so, the arctic flora would have been able to 
find a passage from the Himalayas, through eastern 
China and the Celebes, to Australia, New Zealand, 
and Tasmania. 

Another suggestion is that the Australian forms 
came from South America to New Zealand, then 
Tasmania, and finally Australia; for the New 
Zealand flora is strangely like that of South 
America in some respects, and it has been shown 
above that Tasmania has more British types than 
Australia. 1 

Thus is it supposed that the arctic flora has been 
driven over all the world, and on the close of the 
Glacial Epoch the plants situated on what are 
now tropical plains perished, or else retired up 
the mountains where we now find them, as on 
Clarence Peak in the island of Fernando Po; 
while in the northern hemisphere many retreated 
back again into arctic regions perhaps accompanied 

1 Hooker thus sums up his observations on this dispersion, 
in his Introductory Essay to the "Flora of Tasmania," 
p. 103 : — ' ' When I take a comprehensive view of the vege- 
tation of the Old World, 1 am struck with the appearance it 
presents of there being a current of vegetation (if I may so 
fancifully express myself) from Scandinavia to Tasmania ; 
along, in short, the whole extent of that arc of the 
terrestrial sphere, which presents the greatest continuity 
of land. In the first place, Scandinavian genera, and even 
species, reappear everywhere from Lapland and Iceland to 
the tops of the Tasmanian Alps, in rapidly diminishing 
numbers, it is true, but in vigorous development through- 
out. They abound on the Alps and Pyrenees, pass on to 
the Caucasus and Himalaya, thence they extend along the 


by other plants of the countries they had pre- 
viously invaded. 

With reference to our own islands, there is 
reason to believe that the Atlantic type of Watson, 
or the groups including the Asturian and Norman 
or Armorican of Forbes, are very ancient. This 
is inferred, first, from their fragmentary character; 
secondly, from their isolation ; and thirdly, from 
the fact that boulders have been found stranded 
on the south coast of England, implying that 
these islands were severed from the Continent, at 
least on the west, and south-west, during the 
Glacial Epoch, and that, therefore, these plants 
owe their origin to a much earlier connexion with 
the Continent; for, as already remarked, the 
nearest continental site of the Asturian plants is 
to be found in Spain; while the Armorican 
doubtless came from Normandy. With regard 
to the Arctic and common English and Scottish 
types, many of which are to be found in the 
arctic regions, they appear to have travelled from 
the north, or from the Scandinavian regions across 

Khasia Mountains, and those of the peninsulas of India 
to those of Ceylon and the Malayan Archipelago (Java 
and Borneo), and after a hiatus of 30°, they reappear on 
the Alps of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, and 
beyond. Then, again, on those of New Zealand and the 
Antarctic Islands, many of the species remaining un- 
changed throughout. It matters not what the vegetation 
of the bases and flanks of the mountains may be ; the 
northern species may be associated with Alpine forms of 
Germanic, Siberian, Oriental, Chinese, American, Malayan, 
and finally Australian Antarctic types ; but whereas these 
are all more or less local assemblages, the Scandinavian 
asserts his prerogative of ubiquity from Great Britain to 
the Antipodes." 



the plain of the German Ocean : 1 but on the 
subsequent depression of the land below the sea, 
and with the elevation of temperature to its 
present state, the more arctic types would be 
confined to the tops of our mountains, while the 
rest would people the plains, and the floras would 
thus be gradually established in our islands in 
the conditions in which we now find them. 



In treating of wild flowers, we must not forget 
to tell the story of our garden vegetables; for 
they are all domesticated wild plants, which have 
been "improved" by the cultivator's skill. 
Several are natives of the British Isles, and 
the rest come from various parts of the world. 

Let us begin with those which provide us with 
roots ; and then proceed to consider others which 
supply us with edible stems, leaves, flower-buds and 

1 There appear to have been four well-marked periods 
at least in the Glacial Epoch : (1) a period of elevation at 
the time of Cromer Forest ; (2) one of great depression, so 
that Great Britain became an archipelago ; then (3) re- 
elevation, when the German Ocean was land ; and finally 
a last depression to its present condition. 

2 The following brief account of our common garden 
vegetables is partly taken from my article in the " Journal 
of the Rl. Hor. Soc," vol. xvii. 



Turnip — This and the rape as well as cabbage 
are all members of the genus Brassica, of the 
order Cruciferce. Authors are not all agreed upon 
the differences between the first two being 
"specific." Pliny writing in the first century, 
A.D., said "the turnip is pretty nearly of the same 
nature as the rape." Gerarde in his " Herball," 
1597, united the two and the late Prof. Jas. Buck- 
man considered them as identical. The difference 
between them probably arises, as stated in Chap- 
ter V. from the object and method of cultivation. 
For if the seed be selected for its oil, then, by the 
law of compensation the root will not assume the 
enlarged form. If the turnip-root be the object, 
then the oil is deficient. 

With regard to the geographical distribution 
of the wild turnip and its kindred, they are all 
of European and Siberian origin ; and are still to 
be seen wild or half-wild in some form or other. 

The turnip was well known to the ancients. 
Pliny described several sorts ; but some may refer 
to the radish. In the fifteenth century it was 
known to, and much grown by, the Flemings. 
The first turnips that were grown in England are 
believed to have come from Holland in 1550. 

Radish. — This also is of the order Cruciferce 
M. Carriere raised a variety of forms from our 
wild radish, which is distributed over N. Europe, 
N. Africa, N. and W. Asia to India. The radish 
has been grown from the earliest historic times, 
from Europe to China and Japan, Herodotus, 
writing in the fifth century, B.C., speaks of the 
radish as being eaten by the builders of the Great 
Pyramid, built probably between 3,000 and 



4,000 years B.C. The radish is also figured on 
the walls of the temple of Karnak in Egypt. 
The present indigenous variety in Egypt is a 
large white sort with long tapering leaves. 
Gerarde, 1597, figures two varieties which he 
calls the " round " and the " pear-fashioned." 
It is noticeable that both these are represented 
as having only two-seeded pods. This feature 
agrees better with that of the seaside species of 
radish, a plant found from the Clyde southwards, 
and is commoner on the continent ; so that it is 
pretty certain that this and not the so-called 
"wild radish" was the true origin of the 
cultivated one. 

With regard to the forms of the roots, M. 
Carriere found that when seed was sown in a 
loose soil, a greater proportion of long-rooted 
forms were produced ; while the round or turnip- 
rooted forms prevailed in a stiff soil. Pliny 
records a very similar fact, for he says of the 
rape: — 4 4 The Greeks have distinguished two 
principal species of rape, the male (turnip-rooted) 
and the female (long-rooted) ; and they have dis- 
covered a method of obtaining both from the 
same seed, for when it is sown in a hard, cloggy 
soil, the produce will be male." Again, he 
writes: " Some authors have mentioned a plan 
of making a hole with a dibble and covering it 
at the bottom with chaff, six fingers in depth. 
Upon this the seed is put, and then covered over 
with manure and earth. The result of which is 
that radishes are obtained fully as large as the 
hole is made." Prize parsnips are made to-day 
in much the same fashion. 


Parsnip. — Of the order Umbelliferce. It 
occurs wild from Durham and Lancaster south- 
wards. It is common on the limestone of 
Gloucestershire and on the chalk of Dorset, etc. 
It ranges from Europe to Siberia. 

The Greeks and Eomans cultivated parsnips 
and carrots, which the former confounded under 
the name Staphylinos. It appears from Pliny 
that "the wild parsnip was eaten after having 
been transplanted, or from seed ; but it preserved 
its strong, pungent flavour, which it is found 
quite impossible to get rid of." This seems to 
imply that the ancients did not know how to 
improve wild plants by gradual and prolonged 

As an example of modern, experimental 
" ennoblement by selection " of the parsnip, that 
of the late Professor Jas. Buckman may be 
mentioned. He sowed seeds of the wild plant 
in the botanic garden of the Cirencester Agricul- 
tural College in 1847 ; and raised a garden 
form by selection, which he called " The 
Student." Giving it to Messrs Sutton & Sons 
in 1851, that firm improved it, and finally issued 
it. It still remains after half a century, the best 
parsnip in the trade. 

Carrot. — Also of the order Umbelliferce. 
This plant is found wild from Europe and N. 
Africa to N. and W. Asia and India. It is very 
common in England. 

That the cultivated form is derived from our 
wild annual species has been proved by M. 
Vilmorin and others. M. Vilmorin sowed seed 
of wild plants, and found that they flowered 



successively through the summer. Collecting the 
seed from the latest to flower and sowing this 
again late in the following season, he encouraged 
the enlargement of the root. By this means the 
carrot was induced to flower permanently in the 
second year of growth. Hence the garden form 
is now a biennial, this acquired habit having be- 
come hereditary. 

The long and short " horn " forms of carrots 
have the same origin as the radishes mentioned 

The carrot is supposed to have been introduced 
into England as a vegetable by the Dutch, about 
1558. It is said to be first grown about Sandwich. 

Beetroot. — Of the order Chenopodiacece. It 
is a common perennial wild flower round our 
coasts and a native of Europe, N. Africa, W. 
Asia and India. The garden-beet, sugar-beet, 
white-beet or chard and mangel-wurzel are all 
derived from the same plant. The earliest culti- 
vation would seem to have been from 300-400 
B.C. The sugar-beet first began to be cultivated 
for sugar in 1747. 

Chard, or the central, blanched leaves, especi- 
ally the mid-ribs was the edible part with the 
ancients. Thus red chard is noticed by Aris- 
totle, 350 B.C. Theophrastus (fourth century 
B.c), knew of two kinds the ' 6 white " and " black," 
Pliny also describes them, and says that they 
were eaten with lentils and beans ; but the root 
was only used for its supposed medical virtues. 
Beet-root was introduced into England in 1570. 

Of plants yielding stems which are edible, the 
most important is the — 



Potato. — Of the order Solanacece. It is a Dative 
of the higher ground of Peru. It was first in- 
troduced into Spain and Italy by the Spaniards 
at the close of the fifteenth century, who found 
it already cultivated in S. America. It was then 
called "Battata," from which the word Potato is 
derived. Gerarde received it from Virginia in 
1584, and called it Battata virginiana and Papus 
hyspanicus. 1 

Jerusalem Artichoke— This plant is a native 
of the N. United States of America. It was culti- 
vated by the Indians of Huron and New England 
at an early date, and was introduced into England 
in 1617 as "Battatas de Canada." It is allied to 
the Sunflower, an annual plant of Mexico. The 
word "Jerusalem" is a corruption of the Italian 
word " Girasola " meaning " turn to the sun." The 
word " Artichoke" is derived primarily from the 
Arabic "Kharchouf," which appears as "Alca- 
chofa" in Spanish, corrupted into "Articocco" 
in Italian, and hence our word "Artichoke." 

Asparagus. — This occurs wild on the coasts 
of Wales, Cornwall, Dorset and the Channel 
Islands. In the southern parts of Russia and 
Poland the waste steppes are covered with it, 
and it is there eaten by horses and cattle as grass. 
It was highly esteemed by the ancient Greeks and 
Romans, 200 B.C. It has long been cultivated in 
England. Gerarde, 1597, figures five kinds, one 
only, however, being the true garden asparagus. 
It is one of the few vegetables which have re- 

1 In the portrait, given as a frontispiece to his " Herbal," 
Gerarde is represented as holding a flowering branch of 
the potato in his hand. 



mained true to the wild form for upwards of two 
thousand years of cultivation. 

The next to be considered are plants grown 
for their foliage as food. 

Cabbage. — This is a native of the coasts of 
England and Wales, of the Channel Islands, and 
of W. and S. Europe. Theophrastus (300 B.C.) 
knew of three kinds only — the loose broad-leaved, 
the closely-packed, and the crisped leaved. Pliny 
in the first century A.D. mentions several varieties, 
and says that they were the most highly esteemed 
of all garden vegetables. Eighty-seven remedies 
were credited to the Cabbage. He tells us that 
" small shoots throw out from the main stem, of 
a more delicate and tender quality than the 
Cabbage itself, were cut in spring." Pliny also, 
alluding to the " Arcinian Cabbage," says : " Be- 
neath nearly of all the leaves there were small 
shoots peculiar to this variety." It would seem 
from the description that this form corresponded 
with the kind described and figured by Gerarde, 
viz., No 7, Brassica prolifera, " the double Cole- 
wort." He says : " Double Colewoort hath many 
and large leaues whereupon do grow heere and 
there other small iagged leaues, as it were made 
of ragged shreds and iaggs set vpon the smooth 
leafe, which giueth shewe of a plume or faune 
of feathers." It somewhat resembles the "crested " 
Primroses and Cyclamen flowers, and appears tc 
be due to hypertrophy coupled with a multipli- 
cation of the fibro- vascular cords of the mid-ribs, 
etc. In one kind of this prolification the excres- 
cences take the form of funnels at the extremities 
of the ribs. A few years ago nearly every 


plant in a bed in the garden of Sir J. B. Lawes 
at Rothampstead was characterised by this 

The following are varieties of the Cabbage. 

Kohl-rabi. — This is remarkable for its swollen 
stem. It appears to have been introduced into 
Germany from Italy about 1558, and into Tripoli 
about 1574. It was known to Gerarde (1597), 
but it is not clear whether it was known to Pliny. 
His description of the " Corinthian " Turnip seems 
to agree with it, of which he says: "The root 
is all but out of the ground : indeed this is the 
only kind that, in growing, shoots upwards, and 
not as the others do, downwards into the ground." 
It is a common food in Malta. 

The Brussels Sprouts. — These were commonly 
grown in Belgium in 1820, and also in French 
gardens, but not generally known in England 
before 1850. 

The Broccoli. — The earliest notice of this variety 
appears to be in Miller's Dictionary, 1724, where 
it is called the "Sprout Colliflower." It seems 
to have originated in Italy. Being sown in 
September there, as in Malta, it is cut in April 
or May. 

The Cauliflower was earlier known, being men- 
tioned by Dodonseus 1553 or 1559, and figured 
by Gerarde, 1597, though it was rare in Parkin- 
son's time 1629. The form is due to a partial 
suppression of the floral organs, accompanied 
by a great development of the pedicels, similar 
to the Feather Hyacinth, Bellevalia comosa.. The 
following description of its origin is by M. 
Vilmorin : — 



"The Sprouting or Asparagus Broccoli 1 repre- 
sents the first form exhibited by the new vegetable 
when it ceased to be the earliest Cabbage, and 
was grown with an especial view to its shoots. 
After this, by continued selection and successive 
improvements, varieties were obtained which pro- 
duced a compact white head, and some of these 
varieties were still further improved into kinds 
which are sufficiently early to commence and 
complete their rustic growth in the course of the 
same year. These last named kinds are now 
known by the name of Cauliflower." 

As illustrating the origin of the many varieties 
of Cabbage by cultivation, Prof. Buckman raised 
varieties from the seed of wild plants collected 
at Llandudno, "some having short petioles and 
the close-hearting condition of Cabbages, both 
green and red, the tendency [to vary] being much 
increased by repeated transplanting. Others, 
with longer petioles and lyrate leaves, seem to 
take on the looser method of growth of Kales, 
&c." With reference to persistency of form, 
Prof. Buckman adds : " It may be remarked, as 
throwing some light on the nature of the changes 
by which the cultivated varieties of this genus 
have been attained, that experiments with seeds 
of plants showing any particular tendency, and 
especially if repeatedly grown in the same soil, 
will ever result in an increase of the peculiarity. " 

Sea-Kale. — This is a native of various parts 
of the English coast. It was well known to the 

1 "The small shoots," referred to by Pliny called Cymcc 
or " Sprouts," were probably the loose form of the flower- 
ing head ; as commonly seen now in Malta. 


Eomans, who collected it wild, and preserved it 
in barrels for use during long voyages. " It was 
called Halmyridia from its growing on the sea- 
shore only. Pliny's description of the method 
of pickling it with oil and salt is very suggestive 
of an origin of sauerkraut of the Germans. 

Unlike the cabbage, which is prone to vary 
greatly, the Sea-Kale, like asparagus, illustrates 
"persistence of type." The present cultivated 
form being that of the originally wild one. It 
was not cultivated until the eighteenth century, 

Spinach. — This plant does not appear to be 
known wild ; but it may be a cultivated form 
of a native species of Persia. It was unknown to 
the ancient Greeks and Romans, being new to 
Europe in the sixteenth century. The name is de- 
rived from the Arabic " Esbnach," which indicates 
its Eastern origin. Its cultivation is said to have 
been common in Nineveh and Babylon. A Spinach 
figured by Gerarde would seem to be some in- 
determinable form of Goose-foot or Orache. It 
is noticed in Turner's " Herbal," 1568, as "an herb 
lately found and not much in use." 

Onions. — These species of the genus Allium 
which are more or less in general cultivation are 
the following : — The common Onion, Garlic, 
Shallot, Chives, Rocambole or Sand-Leek and 
the Leek. 

The common Onion is one of the earliest of 
the cultivated species. It was used as a spell in 
Chaldea, possibly 5000 B.C. One variety was 
worshipped in Egypt, and Garlic and Onions 
were invoked by them when taking an oath. 



Pliny says "There are no such things as wild 
Onions," but they have been discovered truly 
wild in Beluchistan and neighbouring countries. 

The Spring or Welsh Onion, or Rock Onion of 
Russia, is a native of Siberia and Russia. It has 
been grown in England since 1629. Like the 
Leek, it does not form a bulb. 

Garlic is wild in the desert of the Kirghis of 
Sungari. It is very ancient and widespread in 
cultivation. Herodotus mentions it as grown in 
Egypt, upwards of 3000 B.C. 

The Shallot, is believed to be the same as the 
Ascalonian Onion of Pliny, who says "it is so 
called from Ascalon, a city of Judaea." Theo- 
phrastus, however, as also A. de Candolle regards 
it as a form of the Onion. It is not known wild. 
It was introduced into England in 1548. 

The Chive occupies an extensive area in the 
northern hemisphere, both in the old and new 
worlds. It is found wild in some of the northern 
and western counties of England and Wales. A 
variety to be met with in the Alps appears to be 
nearest to the cultivated form. 

The Rocambole, or Sand Leek, occurs wild 
from Yorkshire and Lancashire to Fife and Perth- 
shire, as well as in Ireland. It is not of ancient 
cultivation, though of European origin, as it is 
not mentioned by Greek and Latin authors. 

The Leek is commonly wild in the East and 
Mediterranean regions, and especially Algeria. 
It is naturalised in England. It was well known 
to the ancients. Pliny observed that the Emperor 
Nero used to eat Leeks and oil to improve his 
voice, and that the best came from Egypt. It is 


usually a non-bulbous form under cultivation; 
but the ancients used to make it produce bulbs 
by transplanting and cutting off the green tops, 
as described by Pliny. Gerarde's figure of the 
Leek shows a decided tendency to produce a bulb. 
I have found it wild and always bulbous in Malta. 

Khubarb. — The leaf-stalks of species of Rheum, 
natives of N.E. Asia and China. 

Lettuce. — This salad-plant is a native of S. 
Europe and occurs from the Canary Islands to E. 
Asia. The wild form is to be found in many 
counties of England but it is a rare plant. It 
was cultivated by the ancients as a salad-plant 
and was also used as a sedative. Lettuce appears 
to have been the " opium " of the physician Galen, 
who lived about 200 A.D. 

Endive. — This is probably a Mediterranean 
plant. It is described by Pliny more especially 
for its supposed medicinal qualities, and he speaks 
of two kinds, the cultivated and the wild, known 
as Cichorium or " Spreading Endive." He refers 
to its growth in Egypt, where the true Endive 
still occurs wild in the fields and is sometimes 
cultivated. There are two forms in present 
cultivation — the curled-leaved, which was un- 
known to the ancients, and the broad-leaved 
or Batavian. The " curled " appears to be first 
alluded to by Camerarius in 1586. 

Pliny makes the remark that "the general 
opinion is that those only will admit of being 
blanched which are produced from white seed 
. . . care being taken to tie up the leaves as 
soon as ever they begin to come to any size." 

Chicory. — This differs from the endive in 



being perennial. There are two kinds in culti- 
vation, the " Barbe de Capucin " and the 
"Witloof " or Brussels Chicory. It occurs wild 
throughout England, bearing flowers like those 
of the Dandelion, but of a bright blue colour, on 
a tall wiry stem. It is cultivated for the sake of 
the root near York. This is roasted and ground 
to powder. 

Celery. — This is not uncommon in ditches 
and especially near our coasts ; remarkable for 
its strong smell, and is dangerous to eat raw in 
the wild form. In Italy, Malta, etc., it is not 
blanched, but the green leaves are used for soup, 
etc. Gerarde descr ibed it as " water parsley * 
or "smallage." Indeed, the word " celery" is a 
corruption of Selimon the Greek word for parsley. 
In Gerarde's time, 1597, it was the custom to 
transplant it from the ditches into gardens just 
as Pliny says the parsnip was in his day. 

Parsley. — This is allied to celery and a native 
of S. Europe and the Levant. English gardeners 
received it in 1548, but it was used in medicine 
in the fourteenth century and doubtless earlier. 
It has naturalized itself in England, and delights 
in rocks (petros being the Greek for "a stone 
and petro-selimon being the scientific name), as e.g., 
over the Avon at Clifton, where it is wild. 
Parsley was used by the ancients for garlands, as 
it retained its colour. It was also eaten as an 
antidote to the effects of wine. 

Of fruits used as vegetables, the most im- 
portant are the following. 

Haricot or Kidney Bean. — This plant was 
for a long time supposed to be of Indian origin ; 


but the discovery of beans of dwarf haricots in 
certain tombs of Peru in 1880 countenances the 
view that it is of S. American origin. 

On the other hand, it is said to have been cul- 
tivated in France in the time of Charlemagne, 
800 A.D. 1 

Bean. — Varieties of the broad bean have been 
found in the ruins of Troy, and in the Swiss 
lake dwellings of a prehistoric period. Herodotus 
speaks of the bean as never being cultivated in 
Egypt," and if it grows they do not eat it. The 
priests cannot even endure the sight of it ; they 
imagine that this vegetable is unclean." It was 
early known in Italy, as it was an ancient Roman 
rite to put beans in the sacrifices to the goddess 
Carna. Beans are mentioned with lentils in 
2 Sam. xvii. 28, as being brought to David. It 
is believed to have been found wild south of the 
Caspian Sea and in Algeria. M. de Candolle, 
however, doubts the statement. 

Of leguminous plants " the honour," says 
Pliny, " must be given to the Bean." In speaking 
of it as food, he says that it was mixed with flour 
and made into bread. It was also use 1 for feed- 
ing cattle. Bean pottage occupied a place in 
religious services. Pythagoras believed that the 
souls of the dead are enclosed in the bean, hence 
they were used in funeral banquets. A remark- 

1 Gerarde, 1597, figures twelve sorts of beans called 
Phaseoli Brasiliani, or ' ' kidney beanes of Brasile." This, 
therefore, seems as if ne had been aware of a S. American 
origin. He also calls the " English kidney beane, French 
beane." The scarlet runner is probably a variety of this 



able statement of Pliny's is that "it fertilises the 
ground in which it has been sown as well as any 
manure." We now know the cause of this fact, 
that certain kinds of microbes invade the roots, 
giving rise to tubercles, and that by some un- 
known method they can obtain nitrogen from the 
air. Consequently leguminous crops, as a rule, 
do not require nitrogenous manures, and the 
haulms of peas and beans should be always 
chopped up and dug in the ground while still 
green if possible, as the decay is more rapid 

Pea.— This plant is not known wild. Some 
botanists have thought it may be a cultivated form 
of the Field Pea wild in Italy. It was cultivated 
in the time of Theophrastus, and it has been 
found in the lake dwellings of Switzerland. It 
was not known in ancient Egypt nor in India, 
the so-called Mummy Pea 1 having nothing to do 
with Egypt. The pea was probably cultivated 
in England early in the sixteenth century, as 
Gerarde figures and describes it. 

Cucumber. — The origin of this plant is now 
thought to be C. Hardwickii. This is wild from 
Kumaon to Sikkim. It has been cultivated in 
India for 3000 years, and introduced into China, 
200 B.C. The ancient Greeks cultivated it under 

1 The Mummy Pea was "sent out " by Mr Grimstone as 
a new pea about 1840, accompanied with the story that it 
had been found in a mummy case. It is a "fasciated" 
form, and as there is both a white and a purple-grey 
variety, it is suggestive of having been a cross between 
Pisum arvense and P. sativum. The reader will find it 
described in the Gardeners Chronicle, 1849, p. 115 ; and 
1873, p. 44. 


the name of Sikuos. The " cucumber " mentioned 
in Numbers xi. 5, appears by the name in 
Hebrews to have been some other plant; no 
trace has yet been found of the cucumber in 
ancient Egyptian literature. 

Vegetable Marrow.— This is believed to be 
a cultivated variety of the pumpkin. This 
species has been supposed to be indigenous to 
S. Asia and America. The nearest approach to 
it seems to be a kind found growing on the edges 
of thickets by the Guadaloupe, and apparently 
an indigenous plant. Gerarde's figure of Cucumis 
ex Hisjpanico semine natus or Spanish cucumber 
might very well represent the vegetable marrow. 

Tomato. — This was first brought from Santo 
Domingo to Philadelphia in 1798. It was . at 
first cultivated as an ornamental plant ; and not 
used as food in New Orleans till 1812. It 
appears to have been introduced into England in 
1596. The name is derived from the Mexican 
word " Tomatl." Of the numerous forms of the 
fruit in cultivation, the small species cerasiforme 
or cherry-like form is probably the nearest to the 
original type. 



When wild flowers are introduced into gardens 
where they find a much better soil with more 
abundant nutriment, etc., than in their natural 
conditions, they often begin to change in many 
respects. Thus spiny plants lose their spines as 
the sloe changed into the plum, and the wild 
pear into the garden pear-tree. In such, the 
sharp-pointed aborted shoots develop into leafy 
branches. Much hairiness vanishes and the cul- 
tivated descendants may become quite hairless ; 
as the smooth-leaved garden parsnip, which was 
raised from the wild hairy species. Flowers be- 
come much larger and varied in their colouring, 
as in wallflowers, sweet peas and snap-dragons, 
and they often become " double" by the multi- 
plication of their petals. 

Many wild flowers, however, resist all or most 
efforts to induce them to change ; so that they 
are still after many years of cultivation almost if 
not quite like their wild ancestors from which 
the present plants were descended. 

Besides many of our own native wild flowers 
which have been " improved " by cultivation, as 
the old forms of garden pansies, daisies, etc., the 
Continent and especially South Europe has sup- 
plied a large number of our old favourites, some 


of which were introduced in the middle ages, as 
the wallflower ; but more especially from the 
sixteenth century and onwards. But the whole 
world has helped to furnish our gardens and 

Florists, however, have not been content to let 
plants change at their own sweet will, by merely 
providing them with various soils, etc., thereby 
inducing them to vary their colours, etc. ; for 
they have, during this present century, adopted 
the practice of hybridizing flowers, so that per- 
haps the majority of our present cultivated 
flowers were never wild at all ; for they are the 
progeny of two or more species combined. This 
subject, however, would require to be treated by 
itself. At present we are only concerned with 
" cultivated wild flowers.'' 

As people interested in garden flowers often 
wish to know from what country some particular 
plant comes, I have drawn up the following list 
of the more familiar garden plants, giving the 
native country and the dates as far as is approxi- 
mately known when they were first introduced. 

They are alphabetically arranged so that any 
plant can be referred to at once. The dates are 
supplied from Paxton's " Botanical Dictionary." 


Abies — Some twenty species of Fir are in cultivation. 
The Norway or Spruce was once indigenous but 
is extinct now. The White Spruce, Canada ; the 
Black Spruce, N. America ; the Douglas Fir, N. W. 
America ; the Hemlock Spruce, N. America ; the com- 
mon Silver Fir, Central Europe ; the Cephalonian, 



Greece ; the Balsam or Balm of Gilead Fir, N. 
America ; these are some of the most familiar. 
Mostly imported during the eighteenth and last 

Abronia — Two species, California (1823), allied to the 

Acanthus — A. mollis, S. Europe (1548). 
Acer — The False Sycamore from C. Europe and W. 

Asia ; the Curled (1656), the Sugar (1735), and the 

Snake Maples (1755), N. America. A. polymorphum, 

with variously dissected leaves, Japan (1860). 
Aconitum — The Aconite, Monkshood or Wolf's-bane, 

{A. Napellus), C. Europe (1596). 
Adam's Needle-and- Thread — Yucca Jilamentosa, from 

Virginia (1675). 
^Esculus — The Horse-chesnut (JS. Hippocastaneum), 

reached Europe from Asia in 1530. It was rare in 

England in 1597. 
Agapanthus — African Lily (A. umbellatus) , C. G. H. 


Agave — The American Aloe, S. Amer. (1640). 
Ageratum — A. Mexicanum, Mexico, (1822). 
Ailanthus — A. glandulosa, Japan, China (1751). 
Allium— A. Moly (1604) and A. roseum (1752), S. 

Europe. Numerous other species are cultivated. 
Almond — See Amygdalus. 

Aloysia — The Lemon-scented Verbena (A, citriodora), 
Chili (1794). 

Alstrcemeria— A. aurantiaca, Valparaiso (1831). 

Altjlea — The Holy hock (A. rosea), Levant (1573). 

Amaranthus — Love-lies-bleeding (A. caudatus), E. 
Ind. (1596) ; Prince's Feather (A. hypochondriacus), 
Virginia (1684) ; the Cockscomb (A. cristata), Asia 

Amaryllis — A, Belladonna, S. Africa (early in 17th 
century). This is the only species ; but the 
name is given to florists' hybrids of the genus 

Amelanchier — A. vulgaris, S. Europe (1596). 

Ampelopsis — The Virginian Creeper {A. hederacea), N. 
America (1729), and A. tricuspidaia (Veitchii), 
Japan (1868). 


Amygdalus — Almond (A, communis), Barbary (1548), 
Peach and Nectrine are " Sports." 

Anagallis — Pimpernel (A. Indica), Nepal (1824) ; A. 
Monelli, Italy (1648). 

Anemone — Hepatica (A. Hepatica), C. and S. Europe 
(1573). Poppy Anemone (^4. Coronaria), S. Europe 
(1596); Star Anemone (A. hortensis), Pyrenees 
(1596) ; A. Japoiiica, Japan (1844). 

Antirrhinum — Snapdragon (A. majus), S. Europe (pro- 
bably in Middle Ages). 

Anthericum — A. ramosum, etc., S. Europe (1570). 

Apocynum — Dogbane (A. androsaimifolium), N. America 

Aquilegia — Columbine (native) ; A. Canadensis (1640) ; 

A. alpina, Switzerland (173 i). Other species from 

Siberia, S. Europe, etc. 
Araucaria — Puzzle-monkey, Chili (1796). A. Bidwillii, 

Morton Bay (1840). 
Aristolochia - Birthwort {A. Clematitis), Europe 

(16th century?); Dutchman's Pipe (A. Sipho), 

N. America (1763). 
Ash, Flowering — See Fraxinus. 

Asphodelus — Asphodel (A. fistidosus and A. ramosus, 
S. Europe (1550). 

Aster — Michaelmas Daisy (A. Tripolium and A. 
Tradescanti), N. America (1633). Numerous other 
species are grown, chiefly North American. 

Astilbe (Spiraea Japonica) — Japan (1830). 

Astrantia — A. major, occurs wild near old Roman 
quarries, in Stokewood (Shropshire) and the Mal- 
verns. Possibly introduced accidentally by them. 

Aubrietia — A. deltoidea, S. Europe (1710). 

Aucuba — A. Japonica, Japan (1783). 

Auricula — See Primula. 

Azalea— A. Pontica, Turkey (1793). A. Indica (1808) 
and A. Sinensis (A. mollis), China (1823). 


Balsam— See Impatiens. 
Balsam Fir — See Abies. 
Barberry — See Berberis and Mahonia. 



Bastard Balm — Melittis. 

Berberis — B. Darwinii, S. Chiloe (1847). 

B. aristata, Nepal. (1820), B. ilicifolia, Terra del Fuego 


Biota — B. (Thuya) orientalis, Japan (1860). 

Birth-root — See Trillium. 

Bladder -nut — See Staph ylea. 

Blessed Thistle — See Carduus. 

Blue Daisy— See Catananche. 

Borago — Borage (B. officinalis), S. Europe. 

Box— See Buxus. 

Box-Thorn— See Lycium. 

Broom, Spanish — See Spartium. 

Buck-eye, red — Pavia. 

Buddleia — B. globosa, Chili (1774). 

Bulbocodium — B. vernum, C. Europe (1629). 

Buxus — Box [B. sempervirens) ; Native on Box-hill, etc. 


Calceolaria — G. corymbosa and C. integrifolia (1822) ; 

C. purpurea and C. arachnoides (1827) ; and C. crenati- 

flora (1831), all S. American. Modern garden forms 
are hybrids. 

Calendula — Marigold (C. officinalis), S. Europe (1573). 
Callistephus — China Aster (G. hortensis), China (1731). 
Calochortus — Several species, California (1826-1836). 
Calycanthus— Carolina Allspice (C. floridus), Carolina 

Campanula — Canterbury Bells (C. Medium), C. Europe 
(1597); C. persicifolia, Europe (1596); G. Carpa- 
tica, Carpathian Alps (1774) ; G. pyramidalis, 
Carniola (1594). 

Candy -tuft — See Iberis. 

Canna — Indian Shot (C. Indica), India (1570). 
Canterbury Bells — See Campanula. 
Cape Gooseberry — See Physalis. 
Caper-Spurge — See Euphorbia. 

Carduus — Blessed Thistle (C. Marianus), S. Europe. 
Carnation — See Dianthus. 

Castanea — Sweet or Spanish Chesnut (G. vesca), was 
introduced into Europe from Asia Minor. 



Catalpa — Indian Bean (G, bignonioides), S. States of 

America (1726). 
Catananche — Blue Daisy (C. cozrulea), S. Europe 


Gastor Oil Plant — See Ricinus. 

Ceanothus— G. Americana, N. America (1713). 

Cedar, Japanese — See Cryptomeria. 

Cedrus — Cedars; C. Libani, Lebanon (1683); C. 

Atlantica, Atlas Mts. ; G. Deodara, Nepal 


Centaurea — C. montana, Austria (1596). 

Centranthus — Red Valerian (naturalized). 

Cercis — Judas Tree (G. Siliquastrum), S. Europe and 

W. Asia (1596). 
Cephalotaxus -G. Fortunei, China and Japan (1848). 
Cerastium — G. tomentosum, S. Europe. 
Chaste-Tree — See Vitex. 

Cheiranthus — Wallflower (C.Cheiri), S. Europe (Middle 

Cherry, Winter — See Physalis. 
Ghesnut, Sweet — See Castanea. 
Ghesnut, Horse — See iEscuLUS. 
China Aster — See Callistephus. 
Chinese Pink — See Dianthus. 
Christmas Rose — See Helleborus. 

Chrysanthemum — C. Sinense and Indicum, China(1790); 

G. coronarium, S. Europe (1629) ; G. carinatum, 

Barbary (1796). 
Cistus — G. ladaniferus, Portugal and Spain (1629) ; 

G. Cyprius, Greece (1800), and others. 
Clarkia — G. elegans, California (1832) ; G. pulchella, 

N. America (1826). 
Clematis — Virgin's Bower (G. Viorna), N. America 

(1730) ; G. azurea, C. cozrxdea, Japan; C. Fortunei y 

G. lanuginosa, China (1851). 
CoBiEA — G. scandens, Mexico (1792). 
Cockscomb — See Amaranthus. 
Collinsia — C, bicolor, California (1851). 
Colutea — C. arborescens, France (1548). 
Columbine — See Aquilegia. 

Convolvulus — G. tricolor (minor), S. Europe (1629) ; 
C. altho&oides, S. Europe (1597) ; C. mutabilis (major, 



or Ipomcea purpurea), the American "Morning 
Glory," S. America (1629). 

Coreopsis — G. tinctoria, N. America (1820). 

Cornus — Cornelian Cherry (0. mas.), Austria (1596) ; 
G. alba, Siberia (1741) ; C. florida, N. Am. (1731) ; 
C. (Benthamia) fragifera, Nepal 1825 ; G. Cana- 
densis, Canada (1774). 

Corydalis — G, lutea (naturalized). 

Cowslip, American — See Dodecatheon. 

Crab — See Pyrus. 

Crataegus — C.Pyracantha, S. Europe (1629) ; G. coccinea, 
N. America (1683) ; C. Crus-galli, N. Am. (1691). 

Crocus — C. vernus, Europe (16th century?) ; Saffron C. 
(C. sativus, naturalized) ; G. luteus, Turkey (1629) ; 
C. variegatus, Levant (1829), etc. 

Crown Imperial — See Fritillaria. 

Cryptomeria — Japanese Cedar {G. Japonica), Japan 

Cupressus — Cypress (C. sempervirens), Candia (1548); 

C. Lawsoniana, S. Francisco (1852), etc. 
Cyclamen — C. Persicum, Cyprus(1731) ; C. hederazfolium, 

C. and S. Europe, naturalized in Kent and Sussex. 
Cypress — See Cupressus. 

Cytisus — C. Laburnum, C. Europe (1596) ; C. Adami, 
Graft-hybrid (C. L. x G. purpureus), C. alpinus, 
Europe (1596). 


Dahlia — D. variabilis, Mexico (1789). 
Dame's Violet — See Hesperis. 

Dammara — Kauri pine {D. australis), New Zealand 

Daphne — D. Pontica, Asia Minor (1759) ; D. Cneorum, 

Austria (1752), etc. 
Datura — Thorn-apple (Z>. Stramonium), naturalized ; 

and Purple var., Tatula, N. America (1629). 
Day-Lily — See Hemerocallis. 

Delphinium— Larkspur, Rocket {D. Ajacis), Switzer- 
land (1573); Bee Larkspur (/>. elatum), Siberia 
(1597); D. Consolida 9 S. Europe, naturalized, D. 
grandiflorum, Siberia (1816). 


Devil-in-a-bush — See Nigella. 

Dianthus — Clovepink (D. Caryophylhis), S. Europe, 
naturalized on old walls, etc ; Pirk (D. plumarius), 
S. Europe (1629) ; Sweet William (D. barbattis), C. 
and W. Pyrenees (1573) ; Spanish Pink (D. His- 
panicus), var. of Sweet William ; Chinese Pink or 
Indian Pink (D. Chinensis), China (1713), and 

Dicentra [Misspelt Dielytra] — D. spectabilis, Siberia 

(1810) ; D. eximia (1812) and D. chrysantha, both 

from N. America. 
Dictamnus — Fraxinella or Dittany {D. albiis), C. and 

S. Europe (1596). 
Dier villa ( Weigela) — D. rosea, China (1845) ; D. ama- 

bilis, China (1855). 
Dodecatheon — American Cowslip [D. Meadia), Virginia 


Dogbane — See Apocynum. 
Dog's-tooth Violet — See Erythronium. 
Doronicum — Leopard's bane (D. Pardalianches), Europe, 

Dracocephalium — D. peregrinum, Siberia (1759) ; D. 
Argunense, Siberia (1822). 


Eccremocarpus — E. longiflorus, Peru (1825). 
Echinops — E. sphwrocephalas, Austria (1596); E. 

Euthenicus, Germany (1816). 
Eglantine — See Rosa. 

Er an this — Winter Aconite {E. hy emails), Italy 

Erica — E. carnea, S. Europe (1763); Bruyere {E. 

arborea), S. Europe (1658). 
Eryngium — E. alpinum, Switzerland (1597) ; E. 

amethystinum, Styria (1648). 
Erythronium — Dog's-tooth Violet (E. Dens-canis), 

Europe (1596) ; Yellow Adder's-tongue {E. Ameri- 

canum), N. America (1665). 
Escallonia — E. macrantha, etc., Chili (1827 to 1847). 
Eschscholtzia — E. Califomica (1826). 



Euphorbia — Caper Spurge {E. Lathyris), S. Europe, 

Evening Primrose — See Oenothera. 
Everlastings— See Helichrysum. 


Fair Maids of France— See Ranunculus. 
Feather grass — See Stipa. 
Fennel, Giant — See Ferula. 

Ferula — Giant Fennel (F. communis), S. Europe (1597). 
Fir — See Abies. 
Flax— See Llnum. 

Flax, New Zealand — See Phormium. 
Flowering Ash—See Fraxinus. 
Fraxinella—See Dictamnus 
Fraxinus— Flowering Ash {F. Ornus), (1730). 
Fritillaria — Crown Imperial {F. imperialis), Persia 

Funckia — Several species, Japan (1790-1840). 


Gaillardia — G. bicolor, N. America (1787). 

Galega— G. officinalis, Spain (1568). 

Genista — Portugal Broom (G. alba) (1596) ; G. sagitlalis y 

Germany (1570). 
Gentiana — Gentianella (G. acaulis), and other species of 

the Swiss Alps ; G. Andrewsii, N. America. 
Geranium — Pencilled Geranium (G. striatum), Italy 

(1629) ; G. phaium, C. Europe, naturalized. 
Geum — G. chiloense (coccineum), Chiloe (1826). 
Giant Fennel — See Ferula. 
Gilia— Sp. from California (1826-1851). 
Gladiolus— communis, S. Europe (1596); G. car- 

dinalis, C. G. H. (1789) ; G. cuspidatus, C. G. H. 

(1795); G. floribundus, C. G. H. (1788), etc., and 

many hybrids. 
Godetia — See (Enothera. 
Goose-herry, Cape — See Physalis. 

Grevillea — G. robusta, Port Jackson, Australia (1829). 


Grindelia — G. grandiflora, Texas (1840). 
Gunnera — G. scabra, Chili. 

Gynerium — Pampas Grass (G. argenteum), S. America. 
Gypsophila — G. paniculata, Siberia (1759). 


Hare's-foot Grass — See Lagurus. 

Hedysarum — Sulla or Maltese clover (H. coronarium), 

S. Europe (1596). 
Helianthemum — H. Algarvense, Portugal (1800) ; H. 

ocymoides, Spain (1800). 
Helianthus — Sun-flower (H. annuus), Mexico (1596); 

H. multiflorus, N. America (1597). 
Helichrysum — Everlastings, Immortelles {H. Stcechas), 

S. Europe (1629) ; H. bracteatum and H. apiculatam, 

Tasmania (1799). 
Heliotropium — Heliotrope, Cherry-pie (H, Peruvi- 

anum), Peru (1757). 
Hellebore — See Helleborus. 

Helleborus — Black Hellebore, or Christmas Rose (H 
niger), Austria (1596) ; H. olympicus, Asia Minor 
(1840) ; H. purpurascens, Hungary (1817). 

Hemerocallis — Day-lily (H.jlava), S. France, and H. 
fulva, Levant (1596). 

Heracleum — H. Auslriacum (H. giganteum), Europe. 

Hesperis— Dame's- Violet or Rocket (H. matronalis), S. 
Europe (1597). 

Hollyhock— See Alth^a. 

Honesty — See Lunaria. 

Honeysuckle — See Lonicera. 

Horse-chesnut — See ^Esculus. 

Hyacinthus — Hyacinth (H. orientale) f Levant (1596). 
Hydrangea — H. Hortensia, Japan (1790). 
Hypericum — Rose of Sharon, or Aaron's Beard (H. 
calycinu?n) y S. Europe (1680). 


Iberis — Candytuft (/. amara, I. umbellata f etc.), S. 
Europe (16th century). 



Ice-plant — See Mesembryanthemum. 

Impatiens — Balsam (/. Balsamina), Asia (1808) ; /. 

fulva, N. America. 
Indian Bean— Catalpa. 
Ipom&a—See Convolvulus. 

Iris — Flags (I. Germanica), Germany (1573) ; Orris (/. 

Florentina), S. Europe (1596) ; /. Susiana, Persia 

(1596); /. Xiphium, Spain, (1596). 
Ixia — Many species, S. Africa (from 1757). 


Jasminum — Jessamine (/. officinale), N. India and China 

(1548) ; J. nudiflorum, China (1844). 
Jonquil — See Narcissus. 
Judas-tree — See Cercis. 

Juglans — Walnut-tree (J. regia), Persia (1562). 
Juniperus — Common Juniper (J. communis), J. 

chinensis (1804), and J. Japonica, China and Japan ; 

Red Cedar (/. Virginiana), N. America (1664) ; J. 

Bermudiana, Bermudas (1683) ; Savin (J. Sabina), 

S. Europe (1548) ; J. Oxycedrus, S. Europe (1739). 


Kalmia — K. angustifolia, N. America (1736). 
Kerria — K. Japonica, Japan (1700). 
Kniphofia {Tritoma) — K. uraria, S. Africa (1707). 
Koslreuteria — K. paniculata, China (1763). 


Laburnum — See Cytisus. 
Lady's Bouer — See Clematis. 

Lagurus — Hare's-foot Grass (L. ovatus), S. Europe. 
Larix — Larch (L. Europrea), Germany (1629). 
Lathyrus — Sweet Pea {L. odoratus), Sicily (1700). 
Laurel, Common — See Prunus. 
Laurel, Common Bay — See Laurus. 
Laurus — Common Bay Laurel {L. nobilis), S. Europe 



Lavandula — Lavender (L. vera), S. Europe (1568) ; L. 

Stcechas, S. Europe (1568). 
Ledum— L. latifolium, N. America (1763). 
Lemon- scented Verbena — See Aloysia. 
Leopard' s-bane — See Doronicum. 
Leycesteria — L. formosa, Nepal (1824). 
Libocedrus — L. decurrens (Thuya gigantea) California ; 

L. chilensis, Andes (1849) ; L. tetragona, S. America 

Lilac — See Syringa. 

Lilium — Lilies ; L. bulbiferum, Italy (1596) ; L. candi- 

dum, Levant (1596) ; L. Martagon, Germany (1596) ; 

L. pyrenaicum, Pyrenees (1596); L. Chalcedonicun, 

Levant (1796); L. lancifolium, Nepal (1824); L. 

speciosum, Japan (1833) ; L. Thunbergianum, Japan 

(1835) ; L. tigrinum, China (1804) ; L. auratum, 

Japan, (1860) etc. 
Lily — See Lilium. 
Lily, A frican — See Agapanthus. 
Lily, Guernsey — See Nerine. 
Lily, Lent — See Narcissus. 
Limnanthes — L. Douglasii, California (1833). 
Linaria — L. Dalmatica, Levant (1731) ; L. purpurea, 

S. Europe (1648), etc. 
Linum — L. grandiflorum, N. Africa (1820) : L. flavum, 

Austria (1793) ; L. campanulatum, S. Europe (1795) ; 

L. alpinum, Austria (1739). 
Liquid ambar — L. styrociflua, N. America (1683). 
Liriodendron — Tulip-tree (L. tidipifera), N. America 


Loasa — L. aurantiaca, Chili. 

Lobelia — L. Erinus, C. G. H. (1752) ; L. cardi- 
nalis, Mexico (1629) ; L. fulgens, Mexico (1809), 

Lonicera — Honeysuckle (L. Periclymenum (Dative) and 
L. Caprifolium, S. Europe (naturalized). Trumpet 
H. ( L. sempervirens), N. America. 

Love-in-a-mist — See Nigella. 

Love-lies-bleeding — See Amaranthus. 

Lunari a— Honesty (L. Biennis), S. Europe (1570). 

Lupinus — Lupin ; L. polyphyllus, Columbia (1826) ; Tj. 
mutabilis, Bogota (1819) ; L. tomentosus, Peru (1825) 



L. litteus, Sicily (1596) ; L. varius, S. Europe 

Lycium — Box Thorn or Tea-tree (L. Barbamt?n), Barbary 


Magnolia — M. grandiflora, Carolina (1734) ; M. 
purpurea, Japan (1790); M. conspicua {Yulan), 
China; (1789) Umbrella tree {M. tripetala), N. 
America (1752). 

Mahonia — M. {Berberis) aquifolium, N. America (1824). 

Maidenhair Tree— See Salisburia. 

Malcolmia — Virginian Stock (M, maritima), S. Europe 

Malope — M. grandiflora {trifida), S. Europe (1808). 

Maple — See Acer. 

Marigold— See Calendula. 

Marigold, A frican and French — See Tagetes. 

Marvel of Peru — See Mirabilts. 

Matthiola — Stocks, Brompton and Queen (M. incana), 
W. and S. Europe (indigenous) ; Ten- week S. (M. 
annua) S. Europe (1731). 

May-apple — See Podophyllum. 

Melittis — Bastard Balm, M. Melissophyllum (grandi- 

flora), indigenous. 
Mesembyanthemum — Ice - plant {M. crystallinum) 

Greece (1775). 
Michaelmas Daisy — See Aster. 
Mignonette — See Reseda. 

Mimulus — Musk plant {M. moschatus), Columbia (1826) ; 
Monkey-flower {M. variegatus), Chili (1S31), and 
M. luteus, Chili and California (naturalized since 

Mirabilis — Marvel of Peru (M. Jalapa) y W. Indies 

Monkey -flower — See Mimulus. 
Monkshood — See Aconitum. 
Montbretia — M. aurea, S. Africa. 

Morus— Black Mulberry (M. nigra) (1548); White M. 

(M. alba), China (1596). 
Mulberry — See Morus. 


Muscari — Feathered Hyacinth (M. comosum var. 
monstrosum), S. Europe (1596) ; M. botryoides, Italy 
(1596) ; M. racemosum, Europe (1780). 

Mush-plant — See Mimulus. 

Myrtus— Myrtle {M. communis), S. Europe (1597). 

Narcissus — Jonquil (N. Jonquilla), Spain (1596) ; Hoop 
Petticoat, N. Bulbocodium. Portugal (1629) ; 
Daffodil or Lent lily (N. Pseudo- Narcissus (indi- 
genous), N. incomparabiliS) S. Europe (Hybrid) 
1629 ; N. odorus, S. Europe (1629) ; Polyanthus N. 
(N. Tazetta) from S. Europe to Japan (1759) ; N. 
poeticus, S. Europe (sixteenth century ? ) 

Nectarine — See Amygdalus. 

Negundo — N. fraxinifolmm, N. America (1688). 

Nemophila — N. insignis and N. maculata, California 

Nerine — Guernsey lily (N. Sarniensis), S. Africa (J659); 

N. pulchella, etc., C. G. H. (1820). 
Nicotiana — N. affinis, S. America. 
Nigella — Devil-in-a-bush, or Love-in-a-mist (N. 

Damascena), S. Europe (1570) ; N. Hispanica, 

Spain (1629). 


Oak— See Quercus. 

CEnothera — Evening Primrose (CE. biennis, N. America 
(1629); CE. speciosa, N. America (1821); CE. (Godetia) 
rubicunda f California (1835); CE. (G.) grandiflora, 
Columbia R. (1841). 

Opium Poppy — See Pap aver. 

Ornithogalum — 0. pyramidale, Spain (1752) ; 0. 
arabicum, S. Europe (1629) ; 0. narbonense, S. 
Europe (1810) ; Star of Bethlehem (0. umbellatus), 

Oxalis — 0. rosea, Brazil (1826); 0. violacea, N. 
America (1772); 0. Bowiei, C. G. H. (1823); 0. 
Deppei, Mexico (1827). 




P^sonia — Peony : P. corallina (officinalis), S. Europe ; 

Tree-peony (P. Moutan), China (1789) ; P. albijiora, 

Siberia (1548). 
Pampas Grass— See Gynerium. 

Pancratium — P. maritimum, S. Europe (1597); P. 

Illyricum, S. Europe (1615). 
Papaver — Poppy ; Opium P. (P. somniferum), S. 

Europe (origin, P. setigerum ?) ; P. orientate, W. 

and C. Asia (1714) ; P. alpinum, Alps to Lapland 

(1759); P. nudicaule, Siberia (1730). 
Passiflora — Passion Flower [P. cozrulea), Brazil (1699). 
Paulownia — P. imperialis, Japan (J 840). 
Pavia (jEscuIus) — Red Buckeye (P. rubra), N. America 


Pea, Sweet — See Lathyrus. 
Peach— See Amygdalus. 

Pelargonium — Scarlet P. (P. inquinans) (1714) ; Zonal 
P. (P. zonale) (1710) ; Ivy-leaved P. [P. peltatum) 
(1701), all from C. G. H. " Show" and ' < Fancy" 
Ps. are all hybrids for indoor use. 

Pentstemon — P. acuminatum and P. speciosum, N. 
America (1827), etc. 

Petunia — P. nyctaginijlora (1823) and P. violacea (1831), 
both S. American. All now hybrids between these 
two species. 

Philadelphus — Syringa, or Mock Orange(P. coronarius), 
S. Europe (1596) ; P. grandiflorus, Carolina (1811). 

Phillyrea — P. angustifolia, P. latifolia, and P. media, 
S. Europe (1597). 

Phlomis — Jerusalem Sage (P. fruticosa), S. Europe 

Phlox — P. paniculata, N. America (1732) ; P. Drum- 

mondi, Texas (1835). 
Phormium— New Zealand Flax (P. tenax), N.Z. (1798). 
Physalis— Winter Cherry (P. Alkekengi), S. Europe 

(1548) ; Cape Gooseberry (P. edidis, or Peruvianum), 

S. America (1772). 
Pinus — P. Austriaca, Austria (1835); P. Laricio, Corsica 

(1814) ; P. Pinaster, S. Europe (1596) ; P. Pinea, S. 

Europe (1548); P. insignis, Oregon (1833) ; P. ex- 


celsa, Bhotan (1823); P. Strobus, E. America (1705); 

P. Cembra, Liberia (1746). 
Platanus — Plane : P. occidentalism N. America (1636) ; 

P. orientalis, Levant (1548). 
Podophyllum — May-apple (P. peltatum), N. America 


Polygala — P. Chamcebuxus, Switzerland and Austria 

Polygonum — P. cuspidatum (Sieboldii), Japan ; P. 

orientate, N. India, China (1707). 
Populus — Lombardy Poplar (P. pyramidalis, fas- 

tigiata, or clilatata), Italy (1758). 
Portulaca — P. grandiflora, S. America (1827). 
Pote ntill A — P. atrosanguinea, Nepal (1822), and 

numerous species, &c. 
Primula — Chinese Primrose (P. Sinensis), China (1820); 

P. Auricida, Switzerland (1596) ; P. Japonica, 

Japan, &c. 

Prunus — Common or Cherry Laurel (P. Laurocerasus), 
Levant (1629) ; Portugal Laurel (P. Lusitanica) 

Pyrus— Siberian Crab (P. prunifolia) (1758) ; American 
Crab (P. coronaria), Virginia (1724) ; P. Japonica 


Quercus — Turkey Oak (Q. Cerris), S. Europe (1735) ; 
Scarlet Oak (Q. coccinea), N. America (1691) ; 
Evergreen Oak (Q. Ilex), S. Europe (1581); Cork 
Oak (Q. Suber), S. Europe (1581). 


Ranunculus — E. asiaticus, Levant (1596) ; White 
Bachelor's Buttons, or, Fair Maids of France {P. 
aconitifolins), Alps (1596). 

Reseda — Mignonette (E. odorata), Asia Minor (?) (1752) ; 
E. alba, S. Europe (1596). 

Retinospora — E. pisifera, etc., Japan (1864). 

Rhamnus — E. Alaternus, S. Europe (1629). 

Rhodanthe — E. Manglesii, Swan R. (1832). 



Rhododendron— Rose of the Alps {R. ferrugineum and 

R. hirsutum) (1656-1752); R. Gaucasicum (1803); 

R. Ponticum, Asia Mirur (1763); R. Catawbiense, 

N. America (1809); R. Dahuricum, Siberia (1780), 

etc. and numerous hybrids. 
Rhus — Wig-tree or Venetian Sumach {R. Cotinus), S. 

Europe (1656) ; Stag's horn Sumach (R. typhina), 

N. America (1629). 
Ribes — R. sanguineum, N. America (1826) ; R. aureum, 

Missouri (1812) ; R. speciosum, California (1829). 
Ricinus — Castor-oil Plant {R. communis), Asia (?) (1548). 
Robinia— False Acacia (R. Pseud- Acacia), N. America 


Rosa — Provence or Cabbage Rose (R. Centifolia) Cau- 
casus (1596) ; vars. Musk and Crested, France. 
R. Gallica, S. Europe (1596) ; R. Damascena, Syria 
(1573); Eglantine {R. lutea), Germany (1596); R. 
Indica, China (1589) ; R. Banksiai, China (1807). 

Rock-rose — See Helianthemum. 

Rocket — See Hesperis. 

Rocket Larkspur — See Delphinium. 

Rose of Sharon — See Hypericum. 

Rosmarinus — Rosemary (R. officinalis), S. Europe 

Rudbeckia — R. purpurea, etc., R. Drummondii, N. 

America (1 (-40-1832). 
Ruscus — R. androgynus, Canaries (1731) ; 7?. hypo- 

glossum, Italy (1596). 


Salisburia — Maiden-hair tree (S. adiantifolia), China 
and Japan (1754). 

Salvia — S. patens, Mexico (1838); S. verticillata, Ger- 
many (1628); S. splendens, Mexico (1822), etc., 
Sage {S. officinalis), S. Europe (1597). 

Saponaria— Soapwort (S. officinalis), naturalized. 

Savin — See Juniperus. 

Saxifraga — S. crassifolia, Siberia (1765). 

Soabiosa— S. atropur f >urea, E. Indies (1629). 

Scilla — S. Sibirica, Siberia (1796) ; S. amana, Levant 
(1596); £. campanulata, S. Europe, Spain (1683); 




S. Peruviana, S.W. Europe (1607) ; S. Italica, 
Switzerland (1605). 
Sedum — S. Sieboldii, Japan (1836) ; S. Fabaria, Japan 

Sequoia — Mammoth Tree (S. gigantea), California 

(1853) ; Red- wood (S. Taxodium or semper vir ens, 

California (1796). 
Silene — S. compacta, Caucasus (1823) ; S. pendula, 

Sicily (1731) ; S.fimbriata, Caucasus (1803). 
Sisyrinchium— S. Bermudianum , Bermuda (1730) ; S. 

grandiflorum, N. America (1826). 
Skimmia — S. Japonica, Japan (1845). 
Snapdragon — See Antirrhinum. 
Snowberry — See Symphoricarpus. 
Soapwort — See Saponaria. 
Solanum — S. giganteum, C. G. H. (1792), etc. 
Sparaxis — S. tricolor, etc., C. G. H., 1789. 
Spartium — Spanish Broom (S. junceum), S. Europe 


Specularia — Venus' Looking-Glass (S. Specidum), 

Europe (1596). 
Spider -wort — See Tradescantia. 

Spiraea— Goats'-Beard {S. Aruncus), Siberia (1633); 
Qaeeu of the Prairies (S. lobata), N. America 
(1765) ; S. salicifolia, Arctic Europe (naturalized). 

Spruce— See Abies. 

Staphylea — Bladder-nut (S. pinnata), C. Europe. 
Statice — S. elata, Siberia (1820). 
Sternbergia — S. lutea, S. Europe (1596). 
Stipa — Feather grass (S. pennata). 
Sweet Bay—See Laurus. 
Sweet William— See Dianthus. 

Symphoricarpus — Snowberry (S. vulgaris), N. America 

Syringa — Lilac (S. vidgaris), Persia (1597). 


Tagetes— French Marigold {T. patula) (1573); and 
African Marigold (T. erecta) (1596); both from 

Tamarix — Tamarix (T. Gallica), naturalized. 



Taxodium — Deciduous or Bald Cypress (T. distichum)., 

N. America (1640). 
Tea-tree — See Lycium. 

Tecoma — Trumpet Flower (T. radicans), N. America 

Thorn-apple — See Datura. 

Thuja — T. Lobbii (gigantea), N.W. America; T. 

occidentalism N.W. America (1595). 
Tigridia — T. Pavonia, Mexico (1796). 
Tradescantia — Spiderwort {T. virginica) N. America 


Trillium — T. grandiflorum (1799) and T. pendulum 

(1805) ; both N. American. 
Tritoma — See Kniphofia. 

Trollics — T. asiaticus, Siberia (1759) ; T. caucasicus, 

Caucasus (1817). 
Trop,eolum — Indian Cress {T. majus), Peru (1686). 
Tulipa — Ttdips, T. Gesneriana, W. Siberia (1577); 

T. suaveolens, S. Europe (1603) ; T. Turcica, 

Levant ; T. Oculus-solis, Italy (1816) ; T. precox, 

Italy (1825). 


Uvularia — U. grandiflora, N. America (1802). 

Venetian Sumach — See Rhus. 

Venus 1 Looking Glass — See Specularla. 

Veratrum— White Hellebore ( V. album), Black H. 

{V. nigrun), both C. Europe (1548-1596). 
Verbena — V. Aubletia and V. Chammdrifolia, Buenos 

Ayres (1827). 

Veronica — V. longifolia, C. Europe (1731) ; V. speciosa, 
V. salicifolia, V. macrocarpa, etc., New Zealand. 

Viburnum — Laurustinus (V. Tinus), S. Europe (1596). 

Viola — V. Rothomagensis, France ; V. grandiflora, Switz- 
erland (1781) ; V. calcarata, Switzerland (1790) ; V. 
cornuta, Pyrenees. 

Violet, Dog's-tooth — See Erythronium 

Violet, Dame's — See Hesperis. 

Virginia Creeper — See Ampelopsis. 




Virginia stock — See Malcolmia. 
Virgin' s-bower — See Clematis. 

Vitex— Chaste- tree (V. Agnus-Castus), Sicily (1570). 

Wallflower — See Cheiranthus. 
Walnut — J uglans. 


Wig-tree — See Rhus. 
Winter Aconite — See Eranthis. 
Winter Cherry — See Physalis. 
Wistaria — W. Sinensis, China (1818). 
Wolf's-bane — See Aconitum. 


Yucca — Y. gloHosa, America (1596); Adam's Needle- 
and-Thread (Y. filamentosa), Virginia (1675), etc. 


Zinnia — Z. elegans, Mexico (1796). 



Acacia, 14, 77 ff. 
Achene, 18. 
Achlamydece, 36. 
Adaptations for pollination, 
163/. m 

Adaptations for self -fertilisa- 
tion, 169 J. 

Adhesion, explained, 31, 

Aldrovandra, 131, 132. 

Allium, species cultivated, 

Aloe, 140. 

Alternate leaves, origin of, 

Ampelopsis Veitchii, 119. 
Analogy, 95 
Angiosperms, 16. 
Antheriferous ovaries, 187. 
Apple, structure of, 35. 
Aquatic wild flowers, 133 ff. 
Artificial classification, 40. 
Asparagus, 214. 
Assimilation, 11. 


Bean, 222. 
Beetroot, 213. 
Bladderwort, 128. 
Bracts, 11, 156. 
British sub-floras, distribution 
of, 201 

British sub-floras, origin of, 
196 ff. 

British wild flowers, origin of, 

Broccoli, sprouting, 217. 
Brussels sprouts, 216. 
Brookweed, flower of, 145. 
Bryony, tendrils of, 80, 
Buds, developing, 104 ff. 
Bull's-horn thorn, 77 ff. 
Butterwort, 129. 


Cabbage, and varieties of, 

Calycijioi°<e, 32. 
Cambium, 138. 
Carnation, wheat-eared, 190. 
Carrot, 212. 

Cassia obovata, self -fertilising. 

Cassia, sleep of leaves, 109. 
Cauliflower, 216. 
Celery, 221. 
Chard, 213. 
Chicory, 220. 
Circumnutation, 99. 
Classification, 15, 40. 
Cleistogamous, 38. 
Climate, 193 {note). 
Climbing plants, 110 ff. 
Clover, leaves sleeping, 107 ff. 
Cohesion, explained, 31. 
Colchicun, propagation of, 60, 
Colours of flowers, 176 ff. 
Combretum, climbing of, 115. 
Conduplicate leaves, 105. 



Convolvulus, climbing, 114. 
Cornel, petaloid bracts of, 

Corollifiorce or Gamopetalce. 30, 

Cotyledons, 16, 42. 
Crested flowers, 192. 
Crossing and self -fertilisation, 

165, 180. 
Crown of Thorns, 80. 
Cryptogams, 15. 
Cucumber, 223. 
Cut-leaved forms, 90 ff. 


Darwinia, petaloid bracts 

of, 190. 
Dahlia green, 190. 
Declinate stamens, 151. 
Degeneration or degradation, 


Degeneration and self-fer- 
tilisation, 181, 182. 

Dichlamydece, 30. 

Dicotyledons, characters of, 
16, 40. 

Dictamnus, dislocated petals 

of, 152. 
Dislocation of petals, 152. 
Distribution of wild flowers, 

causes and effects of, 202. 
Drosera or Sundew, 122 ff. 
Duckweed, propagation of, 


Duvernoia and bees, 155. 

Edible wild flowers, 209 /. 
Egyptian wheat, 45. 
Embryo, 42. 
Endive, 220. 
Endogenous, 137. 
Endosperm, 46. 
Ejrigynce, 34. 

Evolution of wild flowers 

Exogenous, 137. 


Family, 17. 
Fasciation, 191. 
Fastigiate, 89. 

Ferns, vegetative propagation 

of, 86. 
Floral receptacle, 31 ff. 
Flowers, fertilisation of, 167 ff. 
Flowers, complete, 35 ff. 
Flowers, names of parts of, 


Foliage of Monocotyledons, 

Food materials in reserve, 46. 
Freaks of wild flowers, 183 ff. 
Frog-bit, propagation of, 85. 


Gamopetalce or Corollifloraz, 
30, 34. 

Garden vegetables, history of, 
209 ff. 

Garden, wild flowers in the, 

Genus and species, 17 ff. 
Geranium, floral diagram of, 

Germination, process of, 47 ff. 
Genista, movements in flower 

of, 102. 
Glumifer^, 39. 
Gymnosperms, 16. 


Haricot bean, 221. 
Hibbertia, peculiar climbing 
of, 113. 

Hiptage, peculiar climbing of, 



Homology, 95. 

Homomorphic, 171 • 

Honey - glands, origin of, 

173 /. 
Honey-guides, 179. 
Honey, nature of, 173. 
Hop, method of climbing, 


Horse-chesnut, buds of, 106. 
Hose-in-hose flowers, 188. 
Hypogynce, 34. 


Incomplete?, 36. 
Inductive reasoning, 24. 
Insects and wild flowers, 121. 
Involucre, 11. 

Ipomcea argyrceoides, climb- 
ing, 115. 

Irregular flowers, 35, 147. 

Irregular flowers reverting to 
regularity, 151. 


Jerusalem Artichoke, 214. 
Juniper, common, 17. 

K ' 

Kaffir-bush, 77. 
Kidney-bean, 221. 
Kleinia, propagation by inter- 
nodes, 88. 
Knotgrass, forms of, 21. 
Kohl-rabi, 216. 


Lamina, 64. 

Leaves and their modifica- 
tions, 63/. 

Leaves, simple and compound, 

Leaves, venation of, 64. 
Leek, 219. 

Lesser Celandine, origin of, 

Lettuce, 220. 

Lime, buds of, unfolding, 

Loasa, climbing, 112. 
Lucerne, movements in floral 

organs of, 103. 
Lupin, sleep of leaves of, 



Mangrove, 134. 
Marrow, vegetable, 224. 
Mechanical forces in plants, 

98/, 167 ff. 
Mimetic flowers, 155 ff. 
Monochlamydecv, 36. 
Monocotyledons, characters 

of, 16, 41. 
Monocotyledons described, 


Monsters, 190. 

Movements of organs, 98/ 

Mummy wheat, 42 /. 


Onions, sorts cultivated, 218. 
Opposite leaves, 146. 
Orchids, inversion of flower 

of, 149. 
Order, 17. 

Organs of flowers, &c. , 10 /. 
Organs, functions of, 10 /. 
Origin of floral structures, 

Ovary, inferior, 33 /. 
Ovary, superior, 33 /. 


Ovules, petaloid, 187. 

Oxalis cemua, spreading of, 84. 


Parsley, 221. 
Parsnip, 212. 
Pea 223. 

Peloria, 151, 162, 190. 
Perianth, 39. 
Pericycle, 137 /. 
Petaloid bracts, 189/. 
Petaloid ovules, 187. 
Petaloide^:, 39. 
Petiole, 64. 
Phanerogams, 15. 
Phyllode, 71. 
Pimpernel, flower of, 144. 
Pistil replaced, 186. 
Plumule, 42. 

Plumule, growth of, 52 ff. 
Polypetalce, 30. 
Pondweed, 71, 86. 
Potamogeton, 71, 86. 
Potato, 214. 

Propagation, by vegetative 

organs, 81/. 
Protandrous, 170. 
Protogynous, 170. 
Protoplasm, properties of, 22. 
Pulvinus, 65. 


Radicle, 42. 

Radicle, growth of, 48 /. 
Radish, 210. 

Ranunculus, species of, 17. 
Receptacular tube, 31 ff. 
Regular flower, 29, 150. 
Regularity in terminal flowers, 

Representative plants, 14. 
Respiration of germinating 
seeds, 47. 

Rhubarb, 220. 
Roots, 54 /. 
Roots, adventitious, 61. 
Roots, contractile, 58/. 
Roots, mechanical force of, 

Roots, propagation by, 62. 


Salvia, action of stamens, 

Salvia, structure of calyx of, 

Saxifraga granidata, bulbs of, 

Scarlet runner, flower of, 169. 
Scotch fir, 17. 
Sea-kale, 217. 

Sedum, propagated by leaf- 
buds, 83. 

Seed, structure of, 42. 

Self - fertilisation, Darwin's 
mistake on, 164/. 

Self - fertilisation compared 
with intercrossing, 164 ff. 

Self-fertilisation, methods of, 

Self-fertilising plants, char- 
acter of, 181. 

Solanum Jasminoides, climb- 
ing, 116/ 

Species, meaning of, 17 ff. 

Spinach, 218. 

Sports, vegetative, 89 /. 

Stameniferous corolla, 186. 

Stamens, declinate, 151. 

Stipular zone, 74. 

Stipules, origin of, 64, 72. 

Sub-classes, 30. 

Subterranean clover, 100 ff. 

Sundew, 122. 

Survivals, 23. 

Synanthic flowers, 191. 




Teucrium ) structure of flower, 

Thalamijlorce, 32. 
Tissues, mechanical, 66. 
Tomato, 224. 
Turnip, 210. 


Uncaria, climbing flower- 
stalk of, 67. 
Uses of floral organs, 10. 


Varieties, 19, 178. 
Vegetative multiplication, 

81/, 88. 
Venation of leaves, 64. 

Venus fly-trap, 125. 
Veronica citpressoides, 92 ff. 
Victoria regia, 142. 
Vine, tendrils of, 119. 
Virginian creeper, tendrils of 


Walnut, leaf of, 106. 
Water-crowfoot, 135. 
Water-lily, 142. 
Water-soldier, 140. 
Weeping trees, 90. 
Whorls, floral, 11 ff. 
Whorls, floral, origin of, 143 ff. 
Wood-sorrel, 107 ff. 


Yew, 17, 89. 


Ube XibratE of TKseful Stortes* 


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